Cunningham, Mónica; Garcia, Fernando; Pollero, Ricardo J
Findings on hemolymph lipoproteins in the class Arachnida are reviewed in relation to their lipid and protein compositions, hydrated densities, the capacity of apoproteins to bind lipids, and the influence of xenobiotics on their structures and functionality. The occurrence of hemolymphatic lipoproteins in arachnids has been reported in species belonging to the orders Araneida, Scorpionida, Solpugida and Acarina. However, lipoproteins were properly characterized in only three species, Eurypelma californicum, Polybetes pythagoricus and Latrodectus mirabilis. Like insect and crustaceans the arachnids examined contain high density lipoproteins (HDLs) as predominant circulating lipoproteins. Although in most arachnids these particles resemble those of insect HDLs called "lipophorins", in two arachnid species they differ from lipophorins in their apoproteins, total mass and lipid composition. The hemolymph of P. pythagoricus and L. mirabilis contains another HDL of higher density, while P. pythagoricus and E. californicum hemolymph contain a third lipoprotein of very high density (VHDL). Composition of arachnid lipoproteins regarding apoprotein classes as well as lipid classes differ among species. Hemocyanin, in addition to the classical role of this protein as respiratory pigment, is presented here performing the function of apolipoprotein in some arachnid species. Reports on experiments demonstrating the capacity of hemocyanin to bind neutral and polar lipid classes, including ecdysteroids, are commented. Recent works about the changes evoked by a phosphorous pesticide on the structures and functionality of spider lipoproteins are also reviewed.
Maretić, Z.; Stanić, M.
The authors give data on arachnidism (the systemic poisoning caused by the bite of the spider Latrodectus) in general, on its distribution in the world and in Yugoslavia in particular, on the Latrodectus spider, and on the characteristic clinical syndrome of arachnidism. The bite of the Latrodectus causes great pain, disables the bitten person for a certain time, and may even cause death in a few instances. The results of the authors' own observations in the clinic and on experimental animals are given. Of all forms of therapy tried by them, the simultaneous application of calcium, antivenom, and sometimes procaine infiltration for the relief of local pains gave the best results. In view of the apparently increasing importance of arachnidism, the authors recommend the international exchange of experience on the problem. ImagesFIG. 1 PMID:14364184
Stürzl, W.; Kempter, R.; van Hemmen, J. L.
Sand scorpions and many other arachnids locate their prey through highly sensitive slit sensilla at the tips (tarsi) of their eight legs. This sensor array responds to vibrations with stimulus-locked action potentials encoding the target direction. We present a neuronal model to account for stimulus angle determination using a population of second-order neurons, each receiving excitatory input from one tarsus and inhibition from a triad opposite to it. The input opens a time window whose width determines a neuron's firing probability. Stochastic optimization is realized through tuning the balance between excitation and inhibition. The agreement with experiments on the sand scorpion is excellent.
Divito, Sherrie J; Haught, Justin M; English, Joseph C; Ferris, Laura K
Dermonecrotic arachnidism is the potential cutaneous reaction to spider bite venom. The yellow sac spider, genus Cheiracanthium, is historically considered capable of inducing dermonecrotic lesions. However, recently this belief has been hotly debated. In this article, the authors provide a brief review of dermonecrotic arachnidism and describe a case of a 20-year-old man who developed severe necrosis and edema of the left thigh, buttock, penis, and scrotum following the bite of a yellow sac spider. Notably, the patient wore a tight-fitting garment for multiple hours following the spider bite, thus compressing the envenomated tissue. This is the first case reporting such severe dermonecrosis resulting from a yellow sac spider bite and highlights the potential effects of tissue compression following spider envenomation.
Divito, Sherrie J.; Haught, Justin M.; English, Joseph C.
Dermonecrotic arachnidism is the potential cutaneous reaction to spider bite venom. The yellow sac spider, genus Cheiracanthium, is historically considered capable of inducing dermonecrotic lesions. However, recently this belief has been hotly debated. In this article, the authors provide a brief review of dermonecrotic arachnidism and describe a case of a 20-year-old man who developed severe necrosis and edema of the left thigh, buttock, penis, and scrotum following the bite of a yellow sac spider. Notably, the patient wore a tight-fitting garment for multiple hours following the spider bite, thus compressing the envenomated tissue. This is the first case reporting such severe dermonecrosis resulting from a yellow sac spider bite and highlights the potential effects of tissue compression following spider envenomation. PMID:20729958
Nicholson, Graham M; Graudins, Andis; Wilson, Harry I; Little, Michelle; Broady, Kevin W
The unique geographic isolation of Australia has resulted in the evolution of a distinctive range of Australian arachnid fauna. Through the pioneering work of a number of Australian arachnologists, toxinologists, and clinicians, the taxonomy and distribution of new species, the effective clinical treatment of envenomation, and the isolation and characterisation of the many distinctive neurotoxins, has been achieved. In particular, work has focussed on several Australian arachnids, including red-back and funnel-web spiders, paralysis ticks, and buthid scorpions that contain neurotoxins capable of causing death or serious systemic envenomation. In the case of spiders, species-specific antivenoms have been developed to treat envenomed patients that show considerable cross-reactivity. Both in vitro and clinical case studies have shown they are particularly efficacious in the treatment of envenomation by spiders even from unrelated families. Despite their notorious reputation, the high selectivity and potency of a unique range of toxins from the venom of Australian arachnids will make them invaluable molecular tools for studies of neurotransmitter release and vesicle exocytosis as well as ion channel structure and function. The venoms of funnel-web spiders, and more recently Australian scorpions, have also provided a previously untapped rich source of insect-selective neurotoxins for the future development of biopesticides and the characterisation of previously unvalidated insecticide targets. This review provides a historical viewpoint of the work of many toxinologists to isolate and characterise just some of the toxins produced by such a unique group of arachnids and examines the potential applications of these novel peptides.
Younger, Herbert; Oreilly, John; Frogner, Bjorn
This paper discusses the results of a Phase 2 SBIR project sponsored by NASA and performed by MIMD Systems, Inc. A major objective of this project was to develop specific concepts for improved performance in accessing large databases. An object-oriented and distributed approach was used for the general design, while a geographical decomposition was used as a specific solution. The resulting software framework is called ARACHNID. The Faint Source Catalog developed by NASA was the initial database testbed. This is a database of many giga-bytes, where an order of magnitude improvement in query speed is being sought. This database contains faint infrared point sources obtained from telescope measurements of the sky. A geographical decomposition of this database is an attractive approach to dividing it into pieces. Each piece can then be searched on individual processors with only a weak data linkage between the processors being required. As a further demonstration of the concepts implemented in ARACHNID, a tourist information system is discussed. This version of ARACHNID is the commercial result of the project. It is a distributed, networked, database application where speed, maintenance, and reliability are important considerations. This paper focuses on the design concepts and technologies that form the basis for ARACHNID.
Jeram, A J; Selden, P A; Edwards, D
A new assemblage of arthropod cuticles from Upper Silurian rocks in Shropshire, England, includes at least two centipedes and a trigonotarbid arachnid. This unequivocal terrestrial fauna from the Silurian constitutes the earliest direct record of land animals. The presence of predatory arthropods suggests that complex terrestrial ecosystems were in place by the late Silurian (414 x 10(6) years before present) and that the animal invasion of the land occurred earlier than was previously thought.
Fernández, Rosa; Giribet, Gonzalo
Ricinulei are among the most obscure and cryptic arachnid orders, constituting a micro-diverse group with extreme endemism. The 76 extant species described to date are grouped in three genera: Ricinoides, from tropical Western and Central Africa, and the two Neotropical genera Cryptocellus and Pseudocellus. Until now, a single molecular phylogeny of Ricinulei has been published, recovering the African Ricinoides as the sister group of the American Pseudocellus and providing evidence for the diversification of the order pre-dating the fragmentation of Gondwana. Here, we present, to our knowledge, the first phylogenomic study of this neglected arachnid order based on data from five transcriptomes obtained from the five major mitochondrial lineages of Ricinulei. Our results, based on up to more than 2000 genes, strongly support a clade containing Pseudocellus and Cryptocellus, constituting the American group of Ricinulei, with the African Ricinoides nesting outside. Our dating of the diversification of the African and American clades using a 76 gene data matrix with 90% gene occupancy indicates that this arachnid lineage was distributed in the South American, North American and African plates of Gondwana and that its diversification is concordant with a biogeographic scenario (both for pattern and tempo) of Gondwanan vicariance. PMID:26543583
Masta, Susan E; Longhorn, Stuart J; Boore, Jeffrey L
Phylogenetic analyses based on mitochondrial DNA have yielded widely differing relationships among members of the arthropod lineage Arachnida, depending on the nucleotide coding schemes and models of evolution used. We enhanced taxonomic coverage within the Arachnida greatly by sequencing seven new arachnid mitochondrial genomes from five orders. We then used all 13 mitochondrial protein-coding genes from these genomes to evaluate patterns of nucleotide and amino acid biases. Our data show that two of the six orders of arachnids (spiders and scorpions) have experienced shifts in both nucleotide and amino acid usage in all their protein-coding genes, and that these biases mislead phylogeny reconstruction. These biases are most striking for the hydrophobic amino acids isoleucine and valine, which appear to have evolved asymmetrical exchanges in response to shifts in nucleotide composition. To improve phylogenetic accuracy based on amino acid differences, we tested two recoding methods: (1) removing all isoleucine and valine sites and (2) recoding amino acids based on their physiochemical properties. We find that these methods yield phylogenetic trees that are consistent in their support of ancient intraordinal divergences within the major arachnid lineages. Further refinement of amino acid recoding methods may help us better delineate interordinal relationships among these diverse organisms.
Bechsgaard, Jesper; Vanthournout, Bram; Funch, Peter; Vestbo, Stine; Gibbs, Richard A; Richards, Stephen; Sanggaard, Kristian W.; Enghild, Jan J.; Bilde, Trine
Analyses of arthropod genomes have shown that the genes in the different innate humoral immune responses are conserved. These genes encode proteins that are involved in immune signalling pathways that recognize pathogens and activate immune responses. These immune responses include phagocytosis, encapsulation of the pathogen, and production of effector molecules for pathogen elimination. So far, most studies have focused on insects leaving other major arthropod groups largely unexplored. Here we annotate the immune related genes of six arachnid genomes and present evidence for a conserved pattern of some immune genes, but also evolutionary changes in the arachnid immune system. Specifically, our results suggest that the family of recognition molecules of Beta-1,3-glucanase-related proteins (βGRPs) and the genes from the immune deficiency (IMD) signalling pathway have been lost in a common ancestor of arachnids. These findings are consistent with previous work suggesting that the humoral immune effector proteins are constitutively produced in arachnids in contrast to insects, where these have to be induced. Further functional studies are needed to verify this. We further show that the full hemolymph clotting cascade found in the horseshoe crab is retrieved in most arachnid genomes. Tetranychus lacks at least one major component, although it is possible that this cascade could still function through recruitment of a different protein. The gel-forming protein in horseshoe crabs, coagulogen, was not recovered in any of the arachnid genomes, however, it is possible that the arachnid clot consists of a related protein, spätzle, that is present in all of the genomes. PMID:26528622
Burns, Mercedes; Starrett, James; Derkarabetian, Shahan; Richart, Casey H; Cabrero, Allan; Hedin, Marshal
Next-generation sequencing technologies now allow researchers of non-model systems to perform genome-based studies without the requirement of a (often unavailable) closely related genomic reference. We evaluated the role of restriction endonuclease (RE) selection in double-digest restriction-site-associated DNA sequencing (ddRADseq) by generating reduced representation genome-wide data using four different RE combinations. Our expectation was that RE selections targeting longer, more complex restriction sites would recover fewer loci than RE with shorter, less complex sites. We sequenced a diverse sample of non-model arachnids, including five congeneric pairs of harvestmen (Opiliones) and four pairs of spiders (Araneae). Sample pairs consisted of either conspecifics or closely related congeneric taxa, and in total 26 sample pair analyses were tested. Sequence demultiplexing, read clustering and variant calling were performed in the pyRAD program. The 6-base pair cutter EcoRI combined with methylated site-specific 4-base pair cutter MspI produced, on average, the greatest numbers of intra-individual loci and shared loci per sample pair. As expected, the number of shared loci recovered for a sample pair covaried with the degree of genetic divergence, estimated with cytochrome oxidase I sequences, although this relationship was non-linear. Our comparative results will prove useful in guiding protocol selection for ddRADseq experiments on many arachnid taxa where reference genomes, even from closely related species, are unavailable.
Alshurafa, Nabil I.; Harmon, Justin T.
Evolution has produced organisms whose locomotive agility and adaptivity mock the difficulty faced by robotic scientists. The problem of locomotion, which nature has solved so well, is surprisingly complex and difficult. We explore the ability of an artificial eight-legged arachnid, or animat, to autonomously learn a locomotive gait in a three-dimensional environment. We take a physics-based approach at modeling the world and the virtual body of the animat. The arachnid-like animat learns muscular control functions using simulated annealing techniques, which attempts to maximize forward velocity and minimize energy expenditure. We experiment with varying the weight of these parameters and the resulting locomotive gaits. We perform two experiments in which the first is a naive physics model of the body and world which uses point-masses and idealized joints and muscles. The second experiment is a more realistic simulation using rigid body elements with distributed mass, friction, motors, and mechanical joints. By emphasizing physical aspects we wish to minimize, a number of interesting gaits emerge.
Garwood, Russell J.; Dunlop, Jason A.; Selden, Paul A.; Spencer, Alan R. T.; Atwood, Robert C.; Vo, Nghia T.; Drakopoulos, Michael
Spiders are an important animal group, with a long history. Details of their origins remain limited, with little knowledge of their stem group, and no insights into the sequence of character acquisition during spider evolution. We describe a new fossil arachnid, Idmonarachne brasieri gen. et sp. nov. from the Late Carboniferous (Stephanian, ca 305–299 Ma) of Montceau-les-Mines, France. It is three-dimensionally preserved within a siderite concretion, allowing both laboratory- and synchrotron-based phase-contrast computed tomography reconstruction. The latter is a first for siderite-hosted fossils and has allowed us to investigate fine anatomical details. Although distinctly spider-like in habitus, this remarkable fossil lacks a key diagnostic character of Araneae: spinnerets on the underside of the opisthosoma. It also lacks a flagelliform telson found in the recently recognized, spider-related, Devonian–Permian Uraraneida. Cladistic analysis resolves our new fossil as sister group to the spiders: the spider stem-group comprises the uraraneids and I. brasieri. While we are unable to demonstrate the presence of spigots in this fossil, the recovered phylogeny suggests the earliest character to evolve on the spider stem-group is the secretion of silk. This would have been followed by the loss of a flagelliform telson, and then the ability to spin silk using spinnerets. This last innovation defines the true spiders, significantly post-dates the origins of silk, and may be a key to the group's success. The Montceau-les-Mines locality has previously yielded a mesothele spider (with spinnerets). Evidently, Late Palaeozoic spiders lived alongside Palaeozoic arachnid grades which approached the spider condition, but did not express the full suite of crown-group autapomorphies. PMID:27030415
Garwood, Russell J; Dunlop, Jason A; Selden, Paul A; Spencer, Alan R T; Atwood, Robert C; Vo, Nghia T; Drakopoulos, Michael
Spiders are an important animal group, with a long history. Details of their origins remain limited, with little knowledge of their stem group, and no insights into the sequence of character acquisition during spider evolution. We describe a new fossil arachnid, Idmonarachne brasierigen. et sp. nov. from the Late Carboniferous (Stephanian,ca 305-299 Ma) of Montceau-les-Mines, France. It is three-dimensionally preserved within a siderite concretion, allowing both laboratory- and synchrotron-based phase-contrast computed tomography reconstruction. The latter is a first for siderite-hosted fossils and has allowed us to investigate fine anatomical details. Although distinctly spider-like in habitus, this remarkable fossil lacks a key diagnostic character of Araneae: spinnerets on the underside of the opisthosoma. It also lacks a flagelliform telson found in the recently recognized, spider-related, Devonian-Permian Uraraneida. Cladistic analysis resolves our new fossil as sister group to the spiders: the spider stem-group comprises the uraraneids and I. brasieri While we are unable to demonstrate the presence of spigots in this fossil, the recovered phylogeny suggests the earliest character to evolve on the spider stem-group is the secretion of silk. This would have been followed by the loss of a flagelliform telson, and then the ability to spin silk using spinnerets. This last innovation defines the true spiders, significantly post-dates the origins of silk, and may be a key to the group's success. The Montceau-les-Mines locality has previously yielded a mesothele spider (with spinnerets). Evidently, Late Palaeozoic spiders lived alongside Palaeozoic arachnid grades which approached the spider condition, but did not express the full suite of crown-group autapomorphies.
Oparin, Peter B; Nadezhdin, Kirill D; Berkut, Antonina A; Arseniev, Alexander S; Grishin, Eugene V; Vassilevski, Alexander A
Traditionally, arachnid venoms are known to contain two particularly important groups of peptide toxins. One is disulfide-rich neurotoxins with a predominance of β-structure that specifically target protein receptors in neurons or muscle cells. The other is linear cationic cytotoxins that form amphiphilic α-helices and exhibit rather non-specific membrane-damaging activity. In the present paper, we describe the first 3D structure of a modular arachnid toxin, purotoxin-2 (PT2) from the wolf spider Alopecosa marikovskyi (Lycosidae), studied by NMR spectroscopy. PT2 is composed of an N-terminal inhibitor cystine knot (ICK, or knottin) β-structural domain and a C-terminal linear cationic domain. In aqueous solution, the C-terminal fragment is hyper-flexible, whereas the knottin domain is very rigid. In membrane-mimicking environment, the C-terminal domain assumes a stable amphipathic α-helix. This helix effectively tethers the toxin to membranes and serves as a membrane-access and membrane-anchoring device. Sequence analysis reveals that the knottin + α-helix architecture is quite widespread among arachnid toxins, and PT2 is therefore the founding member of a large family of polypeptides with similar structure motifs. Toxins from this family target different membrane receptors such as P2X in the case of PT2 and calcium channels, but their mechanism of action through membrane access may be strikingly similar.
Vidergar, Nina; Toplak, Nataša; Kuntner, Matjaž
Background DNA barcoding is a popular tool in taxonomic and phylogenetic studies, but for most animal lineages protocols for obtaining the barcoding sequences—mitochondrial cytochrome C oxidase subunit I (cox1 AKA CO1)—are not standardized. Our aim was to explore an optimal strategy for arachnids, focusing on the species-richest lineage, spiders by (1) improving an automated DNA extraction protocol, (2) testing the performance of commonly used primer combinations, and (3) developing a new cox1 primer suitable for more efficient alignment and phylogenetic analyses. Methodology We used exemplars of 15 species from all major spider clades, processed a range of spider tissues of varying size and quality, optimized genomic DNA extraction using the MagMAX Express magnetic particle processor—an automated high throughput DNA extraction system—and tested cox1 amplification protocols emphasizing the standard barcoding region using ten routinely employed primer pairs. Results The best results were obtained with the commonly used Folmer primers (LCO1490/HCO2198) that capture the standard barcode region, and with the C1-J-2183/C1-N-2776 primer pair that amplifies its extension. However, C1-J-2183 is designed too close to HCO2198 for well-interpreted, continuous sequence data, and in practice the resulting sequences from the two primer pairs rarely overlap. We therefore designed a new forward primer C1-J-2123 60 base pairs upstream of the C1-J-2183 binding site. The success rate of this new primer (93%) matched that of C1-J-2183. Conclusions The use of C1-J-2123 allows full, indel-free overlap of sequences obtained with the standard Folmer primers and with C1-J-2123 primer pair. Our preliminary tests suggest that in addition to spiders, C1-J-2123 will also perform in other arachnids and several other invertebrates. We provide optimal PCR protocols for these primer sets, and recommend using them for systematic efforts beyond DNA barcoding. PMID:25415202
Atkinson, R K; Farrell, D J; Leis, A P
Cutaneous lesions caused by M. ulcerans were shown to bear only a superficial resemblance to those produced by certain spider species. M. ulcerans was not found in either the venoms or the midguts of several Australian spiders, and deliberate contamination by inoculation of the fangs and digestive system of the wolf spider, Lycosa godeffroyi, did not result in permanent colonization. M. ulcerans was successfully introduced into the skin of mice through a small trauma site similar to that caused by a spider bite. However, because M. ulcerans was shown to survive on exposed surfaces for only a short period, a successful inoculation is likely only if the skin is contaminated with this organism after, or at the same time as, the skin suffers damage. The claim by other workers that M. ulcerans produces cutaneous ulcers by release of an exotoxin could not be confirmed. The authors conclude that M. ulcerans is not involved in most cases of necrotic arachnidism and hence there is no justification for prescribing anti-mycobacterial antibiotics to resolve alleged spider bite lesions unless the presence of M. ulcerans has been demonstrated by appropriate laboratory tests.
Silvey, Colin J; Hayward, Matthew W; Gibb, Heloise
Species loss can result in changes in assemblage structure and ecosystem function through ecological cascades. Australian vertebrate assemblages changed significantly following European colonisation, which resulted in the establishment of invasive vertebrates and the loss of native marsupials, many of which consume invertebrates. Conservation focusses on the removal of invasive carnivores and the reintroduction of regionally extinct species to fenced sites, resulting in what could be considered a reconstruction of pre-European vertebrate assemblages. In semi-arid Australian spinifex mallee ecosystems, we asked: (1) what is the effect of reconstructed pre-European vertebrate assemblages on native arachnid assemblages? and (2) what direct or indirect mechanisms (predation, disturbance and/or competition) could plausibly be responsible for these effects? We compared sites with reconstructed vertebrate assemblages with paired control sites. Arachnids were sampled using pitfall trapping and direct searching. Hypotheses regarding mechanisms were tested using scat analysis (predation) and by comparing burrow depth (disturbance) and scorpion mass (competition) between control and reconstructed sites. The dominant dune scorpion, Urodacus yaschenkoi, was less abundant and a wolf spider (Lycosa gibsoni species group) more abundant in reconstructed sites. Differences in spider assemblage composition were marginally non-significant. Scat analysis confirmed native vertebrate predation on scorpions and we found no evidence that competition or disturbance affected scorpions. We, thus, suggest that changes in spider assemblages may have resulted from ecological cascades via decreases in dune scorpions. The loss of omnivorous mammals and other changes associated with the invasion of carnivores may, therefore, have had broad-reaching consequences for native arachnid assemblages in Australian ecosystems.
Stebaeva, Sophya; Lonsdale, Owen; Babenko, Anatoly
The catalogue assembles and updates all data concerning the type material of Collembola kept in the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids & Nematodes in Ottawa (CNC). Information is provided for type material of 69 species. Included are holotypes of 31 species (together with 5 ones from Cretaceous amber), syntypes of 26 species (four of them are presently considered to be junior synonyms) and paratypes of 32 species (one of which is considered a junior synonym). Essential label data, references to original descriptions, and modern status including synonyms are given.
Goodacre, Sara L; Martin, Oliver Y
Vertically acquired, endosymbiotic bacteria such as those belonging to the Rickettsiales and the Mollicutes are known to influence the biology of their arthropod hosts in order to favour their own transmission. In this study we investigate the influence of such reproductive parasites on the behavior of their insects and arachnid hosts. We find that changes in host behavior that are associated with endosymbiont infections are not restricted to characteristics that are directly associated with reproduction. Other behavioural traits, such as those involved in intraspecific competition or in dispersal may also be affected. Such behavioural shifts are expected to influence the level of intraspecific variation and the rate at which adaptation can occur through their effects on effective population size and gene flow amongst populations. Symbionts may thus influence both levels of polymorphism within species and the rate at which diversification can occur.
Yi, Xiaobin; AuBuchon, Jacob; Zeltwanger, Shawn; Kirby, John P
Brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa) spider bites mainly occur in the southern and Midwestern United States. The clinical manifestation of brown recluse spider bites varies from skin irritation, a small area of tissue damage to neuropathic pain, necrotic arachnidism and severe systemic reactions such as acute renal failure and even death. Treatment is controversial and nonspecific. We describe a case of extensive right lower extremity tissue necrosis and intractable neuropathic pain treated with lumbar sympathetic block in a patient with a documented brown recluse spider bite. Both his pain and tissue necrosis improved significantly with lumbar sympathetic block with local anesthetic. After a series of lumbar sympathetic blocks, his symptoms resolved and lower extremity wound healed rapidly. We discuss the benefit of sympathetic blockade not only for neuropathic pain but also possibly as a treatment for necrotic arachnidism from a brown recluse spider bite.
Laino, Aldana; Cunningham, Mónica L; García, Fernando; Heras, Horacio
The importance of midgut diverticula (M-diverticula) and hemolymph lipoproteins in the lipid homeostasis of Polybetes phythagoricus was studied. Radioactivity distribution in tissues and hemolymph was analyzed either after feeding or injecting [1-(14)C]-palmitate. In both experiments, radioactivity was mostly taken up by M-diverticula that synthesized diacylglycerols, triacylglycerols and phospholipids in a ratio close to its lipid class composition. M-diverticula total lipids represent 8.08% (by wt), mostly triacylglycerols (74%) and phosphatidylcholine (13%). Major fatty acids were (in decreasing order of abundance) 18:1n-9, 18:2n-6, 16:0, 16:1n-7, 18:0, 18:3n-3. Spider hemocyanin-containing lipoprotein (VHDL) transported 83% of the circulating label at short incubation times. After 24h, VHDL and HDL-1 (comparable to insect lipophorin) were found to be involved in the lipid uptake and release from M-diverticula, HDL-2 playing a negligible role. Lipoprotein's labelled lipid changed with time, phospholipids becoming the main circulating lipid after 24h. These results indicate that arachnid M-diverticula play a central role in lipid synthesis, storage and movilization, analogous to insect fat body or crustacean midgut gland. The relative contribution of HDL-1 and VHDL to lipid dynamics indicated that, unlike insects, spider VHDL significantly contributes to the lipid exchange between M-diverticula and hemolymph.
Bevier, D E
Insect hypersensitivity reactions can have a large number of clinical presentations. The majority of reactions are pruritic and involve the short- or sparsely haired areas of the body. Most are associated with eosinophilic infiltration into the skin, often in a perivascular pattern. The diagnosis may be based on compatible clinical signs and improvement with aggressive insect control and, in some cases, confirmation via provocative exposure. Intradermal, prick, or serum testing for allergen-specific IgE can be used to document the presence of reaginic antibodies against insect allergens. Treatments include avoidance, aggressive insect control, and symptomatic support; in some cases, immunotherapy may be useful in decreasing the severity of clinical reactions to insects.
Gallão, Jonas Eduardo; von Schimonsky, Diego M; Bichuette, Maria Elina
Abstract Background The endemic and threatened troglobites (organisms restricted to caves) Charinus eleonorae (Amblypygi) and Iandumoema uai (Opiliones), both from Olhos d’Água cave, located at Peruaçu Caves National Park (southeast Brazil), have their distribution expanded for a new locality inside of the National Park (Lapa do Cipó cave), extending their distribution at least in 9.5km2. New information This new data suggest that these arachnids can be in a differentiation process and/or there are several possibilities of dispersion in the karst of Peruaçu. Indeed, a revision of their categorical status at IUCN Red List is necessary. We herein report a new distribution range (Lapa do Cipó cave) of the troglobitic species I. uai and C. eleonorae, which are, to date, known to occur in the Olhos d’Água cave, located at the Peruaçu Caves National Park (PCNP). PMID:26696758
Nazareth, Taís M.; Machado, Glauco
Female investment in large eggs increases the demand for fatty acids, which are allocated for yolk production. Since the biosynthetic pathway leading to fatty acids uses the same precursors used in the formation of polyketides, allocation trade-offs are expected to emerge. Therefore, egg production should constrain the investment in chemical defenses based on polyketides, such as benzoquinones. We tested this hypothesis using the harvestman Acutiosoma longipes, which produces large eggs and releases benzoquinones as chemical defense. We predicted that the amount of secretion released by ovigerous females (OFs) would be smaller than that of non-ovigerous females (NOF). We also conducted a series of bioassays in the field and in the laboratory to test whether egg production renders OFs more vulnerable to predation. OFs produce less secretion than NOFs, which is congruent with the hypothesis that egg production constrains the investment in chemical defenses. Results of the bioassays show that the secretion released by OFs is less effective in deterring potential predators (ants and spiders) than the secretion released by NOFs. In conclusion, females allocate resources to chemical defenses in a way that preserves a primary biological function related to reproduction. However, the trade-off between egg and secretion production makes OFs vulnerable to predators. We suggest that egg production is a critical moment in the life of harvestman females, representing perhaps the highest cost of reproduction in the group. PMID:26331946
Yanoviak, Stephen P.; Munk, Yonatan; Dudley, Robert
The behaviour of directed aerial descent has been described for numerous taxa of wingless hexapods as they fall from the tropical rainforest canopy, but is not known in other terrestrial arthropods. Here, we describe similar controlled aerial behaviours for large arboreal spiders in the genus Selenops (Selenopidae). We dropped 59 such spiders from either canopy platforms or tree crowns in Panama and Peru; the majority (93%) directed their aerial trajectories towards and then landed upon nearby tree trunks. Following initial dorsoventral righting when necessary, falling spiders oriented themselves and then translated head-first towards targets; directional changes were correlated with bilaterally asymmetric motions of the anterolaterally extended forelegs. Aerial performance (i.e. the glide index) decreased with increasing body mass and wing loading, but not with projected surface area of the spider. Along with the occurrence of directed aerial descent in ants, jumping bristletails, and other wingless hexapods, this discovery of targeted gliding in selenopid spiders further indicates strong selective pressures against uncontrolled falls into the understory for arboreal taxa. PMID:26289654
Tichy, H; Barth, F G
Structural features of various types of olfactory sensilla are reviewed. 1) Sensilla basiconica which differ in form and size are found on the antennae of centipedes and millipedes. Their walls show longitudinal slits or grooves that either open into the sensillum lumen or do not penetrate the cuticle. In other such sensilla the outer surface is pierced by pores and the inner surface grooved and pocketed. These sensilla are innervated by one to six sensory cells. Their unbranched outer dendritic segments extend to the tip of the sensillum. The sensory cells are surrounded by two or three sheath cells which terminate at the sensillum base or form a continuous tube around the entire length of the outer dendritic segments. 2) Temporal organs of centipedes are located between the insertion of the antenna and the ocelli. These sensilla consist of a shallow cuticular ring with a central sensory plate made up by a layer of unperforated cuticle or a capsule with a mushroom-shaped structure inside formed by fibrous-looking cuticle. A dozen sensory cells with unbranched outer dendritic segments innervate each sensillum. They extend toward the sensory cuticle and pass just below it. Numerous sheath cell processes run parallel to the outer dendritic segments up to the sensory cuticle. 3) Thread-like flagella of Pauropoda are found on the antennae. They possess a flexible unperforated cuticular wall. These sensilla contain nine sensory cells surrounded by several sheath cells which form a continuous cytoplasmic tube around the outer dendritic segments. 4) Single-walled sensilla with numerous plugged pores penetrating the cuticular wall occur on the tarsus of the first leg in ticks. Each sensillum is innervated by 4-15 sensory cells. Three sheath cells terminate in the base of the sensillum. 5) Double-walled sensilla with spoke canals are found on the first tarsus of ticks. Their shaft is longitudinally grooved. Pore canals lead inward from the bottom of the grooves and open into vase-shaped chambers. From its base these canals extend into the lumen of the sensillum which contains unbranched outer dendritic segments of 1-2 sensory cells. 6) Single-walled sensilla with pore openings occur on the distal tarsal segments of the first leg of whip spiders. These sensilla are innervated by 40-45 sensory cells. Their unbranched outer dendritic segments fill the shaft lumen and extend partly into the wall pores. Microvillus-shaped sheath cell processes line the inner surface of the cuticular wall.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
The concept attainment lesson, recommended by Joyce, Weil, and Calhoun (2004), is designed to give students practice in analyzing data and developing critical-thinking skills--without a complicated lab setup. The inductive lesson structure leads students step by step to an in-depth understanding of a new idea and scaffolds their thinking as they…
Sharma, Prashant P; Giribet, Gonzalo
Dating the Opiliones tree of life has become an important enterprise for this group of arthropods, due to their ancient origins and important biogeographic implications. To incorporate both methodological innovations in molecular dating as well as new systematic discoveries of harvestman diversity, we conducted total evidence dating on a data set uniting morphological and/or molecular sequence data for 47 Opiliones species, including all four well-known Palaeozoic fossils, to test the placement of both fossils and newly discovered lineages in a single analysis. Furthermore, we investigated node dating with a phylogenomic data set of 24,202 amino acid sites for 14 species of Opiliones, sampling all extant suborders. In this way, we approached molecular dating of basal harvestman phylogeny using different data sets and approaches to assess congruence of divergence time estimates. In spite of the markedly different composition of data sets, our results show congruence across all analyses for age estimates of basal nodes that are well constrained with respect to fossil calibrations (e.g., Opiliones, Palpatores). By contrast, derived nodes that lack fossil calibrations (e.g., the suborders Cyphophthalmi, and Laniatores) have large uncertainty intervals in diversification times, particularly in the total evidence dating analysis, reflecting the dearth of calibration points and undersampling of derived lineages. Total evidence dating consistently produced older median ages than node dating for ingroup nodes, due to the nested placement of multiple Palaeozoic fossils. Our analyses support basal diversification of Opiliones in the Ordovician-Devonian period, corroborating the inferred ancient origins of this arthropod order, and underscore the importance of diversity discovery-both paleontological and neontological-in evolutionary inference.
Koval, Thomas M.
Twelve cell lines representing 10 genera of three orders (Diptera, Lepidoptera, and Orthoptera) of the class Insecta and one cell line (Acarina) from the class Arachnida were examined to discern their sensitivity to the lethal effects of x-irradiation. Radiosensitivity was measured by a combination of colony formation and population growth curve techniques. Each of these arthropod cell lines is significantly more radioresistant than mammalian cells, though the degree of resistance varies greatly with order. Dipteran cells are 3 to 9 times and lepidopteran cells 52 to 104 times more radioresistant than mammalian cells. Orthopteran and acarine cells are intermediate in radiosensitivity between dipteran and lepidopteran cells. These cells, especially the lepidopteran, should be valuable in determining the molecular nature of repair mechanisms that result in resistance to ionizing radiation. PMID:16593348
Sharma, Prashant P.; Tarazona, Oscar A.; Lopez, Davys H.; Schwager, Evelyn E.; Cohn, Martin J.; Wheeler, Ward C.; Extavour, Cassandra G.
The segmental architecture of the arthropod head is one of the most controversial topics in the evolutionary developmental biology of arthropods. The deutocerebral (second) segment of the head is putatively homologous across Arthropoda, as inferred from the segmental distribution of the tripartite brain and the absence of Hox gene expression of this anterior-most, appendage-bearing segment. While this homology statement implies a putative common mechanism for differentiation of deutocerebral appendages across arthropods, experimental data for deutocerebral appendage fate specification are limited to winged insects. Mandibulates (hexapods, crustaceans and myriapods) bear a characteristic pair of antennae on the deutocerebral segment, whereas chelicerates (e.g. spiders, scorpions, harvestmen) bear the eponymous chelicerae. In such hexapods as the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, and the cricket, Gryllus bimaculatus, cephalic appendages are differentiated from the thoracic appendages (legs) by the activity of the appendage patterning gene homothorax (hth). Here we show that embryonic RNA interference against hth in the harvestman Phalangium opilio results in homeonotic chelicera-to-leg transformations, and also in some cases pedipalp-to-leg transformations. In more strongly affected embryos, adjacent appendages undergo fusion and/or truncation, and legs display proximal defects, suggesting conservation of additional functions of hth in patterning the antero-posterior and proximo-distal appendage axes. Expression signal of anterior Hox genes labial, proboscipedia and Deformed is diminished, but not absent, in hth RNAi embryos, consistent with results previously obtained with the insect G. bimaculatus. Our results substantiate a deep homology across arthropods of the mechanism whereby cephalic appendages are differentiated from locomotory appendages. PMID:25948691
Albín, Andrea; Toscano-Gadea, Carlos A
Natural selection shapes prey-predator relationships and their behavioral adaptations, which seek to maximize capture success in the predator and avoidance in the prey. We tested the ability of adults of the scorpion Bothriurus bonariensis (Bothriuridae) to prey on synchronous and sympatric adults harvestmen of Acanthopachylus aculeatus, Discocyrtus prospicuus, Parampheres bimaculatus and Pachyloides thorellii (Gonyleptidae). In 72.5% of the cases B. bonariensis tried to prey on the harvestmen. The most successful captures occurred in the trials against A. aculeatus and D. prospicuus. In all the successful attacks the scorpions stung the prey between the chelicerae and consumed them, starting by the anterior portion of their bodies. The harvestmen used different defensive strategies such as fleeing before or after contact with the predator, exudating of chemical substances or staying still at the scorpion's touch. When scorpions contacted the chemical substances secreted by the harvestmen, they immediately rubbed the affected appendix against the substrate. However, exudating of chemical substances did not prevent, in any case, predation on the harvestmen. This is the first study showing the ability of scorpions to prey on different species of harvestmen, as well as the capture and defensive behaviors used by the predator and the prey.
Garcia, Francia; Villegas, Elba; Espino-Solis, Gerardo Pavel; Rodriguez, Alexis; Paniagua-Solis, Jorge F; Sandoval-Lopez, Gabriel; Possani, Lourival D; Corzo, Gerardo
Two antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), named La47 and Css54, were isolated from the venom of the spider Lachesana sp. and from the scorpion Centruroides suffusus suffusus, respectively. The primary structures of both La47 and Css54 were determined using N-terminal sequencing and mass spectrometry. La47 is identical to the AMP latarcin 3a obtained previously from the venom of the spider Lachesana tarabaevi, but the primary structure of Css54 is unique having 60% identities to the AMP ponericin-W2 from the venom of the ant Pachycondyla goeldii. Both La47 and Css54 have typical α-helix secondary structures in hydrophobic mimicking environments. The biological activities of both La47 and Css54 were compared with the AMP Pin2 isolated from the venom of the scorpion Pandinus imperator. La47 has lower antimicrobial and hemolytic activities compared with Css54 and Pin2. In addition, La47 and Pin2 were evaluated in the presence of the commercial antibiotics, chloramphenicol, ampicillin, novobiocin, streptomycin and kanamycin. Interestingly, the best antimicrobial combinations were obtained with mixtures of La47 and Pin2 with the antibiotics chloramphenicol, streptomycin and kanamycin, respectively. Furthermore, the novel peptide Css54 was evaluated in the presence of antibiotics used for the treatment of tuberculosis, isoniazid, rifampicin, pyrazinamide and ethambutol. Although the mixtures of Css54 with isoniazid, pyrazinamide or ethambutol inhibit the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, the best effect was found with rifampicin. Overall, these data show a motivating outlook for potential clinical treatments of bacterial infections using AMPs and commercial antibiotics.
Sharma, Prashant P; Tarazona, Oscar A; Lopez, Davys H; Schwager, Evelyn E; Cohn, Martin J; Wheeler, Ward C; Extavour, Cassandra G
The segmental architecture of the arthropod head is one of the most controversial topics in the evolutionary developmental biology of arthropods. The deutocerebral (second) segment of the head is putatively homologous across Arthropoda, as inferred from the segmental distribution of the tripartite brain and the absence of Hox gene expression of this anterior-most, appendage-bearing segment. While this homology statement implies a putative common mechanism for differentiation of deutocerebral appendages across arthropods, experimental data for deutocerebral appendage fate specification are limited to winged insects. Mandibulates (hexapods, crustaceans and myriapods) bear a characteristic pair of antennae on the deutocerebral segment, whereas chelicerates (e.g. spiders, scorpions, harvestmen) bear the eponymous chelicerae. In such hexapods as the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, and the cricket, Gryllus bimaculatus, cephalic appendages are differentiated from the thoracic appendages (legs) by the activity of the appendage patterning gene homothorax (hth). Here we show that embryonic RNA interference against hth in the harvestman Phalangium opilio results in homeonotic chelicera-to-leg transformations, and also in some cases pedipalp-to-leg transformations. In more strongly affected embryos, adjacent appendages undergo fusion and/or truncation, and legs display proximal defects, suggesting conservation of additional functions of hth in patterning the antero-posterior and proximo-distal appendage axes. Expression signal of anterior Hox genes labial, proboscipedia and Deformed is diminished, but not absent, in hth RNAi embryos, consistent with results previously obtained with the insect G. bimaculatus. Our results substantiate a deep homology across arthropods of the mechanism whereby cephalic appendages are differentiated from locomotory appendages.
Giglio, Anna Maria; Scozzafava, Annamaria; Filippelli, Orazio; Serafino, Giuseppe; Verre, Mario
The spider bites are quite frequent and often resolve quickly without leaving outcomes; only some species are capable of causing necrotic and systematic lesions in humans. Among them, we should mention the genus Loxosceles. The venom released from the spider bite of Loxosceles species is composed of proteins, enzymes, and nonenzymatic polypeptides. The phospholipase D family was identified as the active component of the venom. This family of enzymes is responsible for the local and systemic effects observed in loxoscelism. Phospholipases D interact with cell membranes triggering alterations which involve the complement system and activation of neutrophils and they cause the dermonecrotic skin lesions and systemic effects. We describe a fatal case of acute intoxication caused by a spider bite probably belonging to the species Loxosceles. The initial lesion was localized to a finger of a hand. Clinical course was worsening with deep necrotic lesions on limb, shock, hemolysis, acute kidney failure, and disseminated intravascular coagulation. All therapies were ineffective. This is the first fatal case described in Europe. PMID:27651958
Arenas, Ivan; Villegas, Elba; Walls, Oliver; Barrios, Humberto; Rodríguez, Ramon; Corzo, Gerardo
Four antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) named Pin2[G], Pin2, P18K and FA1 were chemically synthesized and purified. The four peptides were evaluated in the presence of eight commercial antibiotics against four microorganisms of medical importance: Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. The commercial antibiotics used were amoxicillin, azithromycin, ceftriaxone, gentamicin, levofloxacin, sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim and vancomycin. The best AMP against P. aeruginosa was the peptide FA1, and the best AMP against S. aureus was Pin2[G]. Both FA1 and Pin2[G] were efficient against E. coli, but they were not effective against K. pneumoniae. As K. pneumoniae was resistant to most of the commercial antibiotics, combinations of the AMPs FA1 and Pin2[G] were prepared with these antibiotics. According to the fractional inhibitory concentration (FIC) index, the best antimicrobial combinations were obtained with concomitant applications of mixtures of FA1 with levofloxacin and sulfamethoxazole. However, combinations of FA1 or Pin2[G] with other antibiotics showed that total inhibitory effect of the combinations were greater than the sum of the individual effects of either the antimicrobial peptide or the antibiotic. We also evaluated the stability of the AMPs. The AMP Pin2[G] manifested the best performance in saline buffer, in supernatants of bacterial growth and in human blood plasma. Nevertheless, all AMPs were cleaved using endoproteolytic enzymes. These data show advantages and disadvantages of AMPs for potential clinical treatments of bacterial infections, using them in conjunction with commercial antibiotics.
Requena, Gustavo S.; Buzatto, Bruno A.; Martins, Eduardo G.; Machado, Glauco
Exclusive paternal care is the rarest form of parental investment in nature and theory predicts that the maintenance of this behavior depends on the balance between costs and benefits to males. Our goal was to assess costs of paternal care in the harvestman Iporangaia pustulosa, for which the benefits of this behavior in terms of egg survival have already been demonstrated. We evaluated energetic costs and mortality risks associated to paternal egg-guarding in the field. We quantified foraging activity of males and estimated how their body condition is influenced by the duration of the caring period. Additionally, we conducted a one-year capture-mark-recapture study and estimated apparent survival probabilities of caring and non-caring males to assess potential survival costs of paternal care. Our results indicate that caring males forage less frequently than non-caring individuals (males and females) and that their body condition deteriorates over the course of the caring period. Thus, males willing to guard eggs may provide to females a fitness-enhancing gift of cost-free care of their offspring. Caring males, however, did not show lower survival probabilities when compared to both non-caring males and females. Reduction in mortality risks as a result of remaining stationary, combined with the benefits of improving egg survival, may have played an important and previously unsuspected role favoring the evolution of paternal care. Moreover, males exhibiting paternal care could also provide an honest signal of their quality as offspring defenders, and thus female preference for caring males could be responsible for maintaining the trait. PMID:23071616
... arachnid family, which also includes mites, ticks , and spiders. Scorpions are about 3 inches long (about the ... A Bee Stung Me! Hey! A Black Widow Spider Bit Me! Hey! A Mosquito Bit Me! Hey! ...
... of the arachnid family, which also includes mites, spiders, and scorpions . A tick attaches itself to the ... MORE ON THIS TOPIC Hey! A Brown Recluse Spider Bit Me! Hey! A Bedbug Bit Me! Going ...
... However, they have been found in several large cities outside these areas. The brown recluse spider prefers ... other damp, moist areas. Alternative Names Loxosceles reclusa Images Arthropods, basic features Arachnids, basic features Brown recluse ...
Hopla, C E; Durden, L A; Keirans, J E
The authors present an introductory overview of the principal groups of ectoparasites (flukes, leeches, crustaceans, insects, arachnids, lampreys and vampire bats) associated with domestic animals. Currently-accepted higher-level classifications are outlined for these parasites. Almost all significant ectoparasites of domestic animals are invertebrates, the majority being arthropods (crustaceans, insects and arachnids). Some of these ectoparasites are of particular importance as vectors of pathogens. Many ectoparasite species are host-specific, and vector species typically transmit characteristic pathogens.
Bugs fascinate children, and each kind of bug plays a special role in the circle of life. Some bugs pollinate plants, while others help to decompose plant and animal waste. In this videotape, students learn about the similar characteristics that all bugs share and compare them to their close cousins, the arachnids. This videotape correlates to the…
Sulfakinin (SK) is a sulfated insect neuropeptide that is best known for its function as a satiety factor. It displays structural and functional similarities with the vertebrate peptides gastrin and cholecystokinin. Peptidomic studies in multiple insects, crustaceans and arachnids have revealed th...
Kamenz, Carsten; Staude, Andreas; Dunlop, Jason A.
Invasion of the land by arachnids required adaptations of numerous organs, such as gills evolving into lungs, as well as mechanisms facilitating sperm transfer in a terrestrial environment. Many modern arachnids use spermatophores for this purpose, i.e. sperm transmitters detached from the body. Exceptionally preserved Silurian (423 Ma) fossils of Eurypterus tetragonophthalmus Fischer, 1839 (Chelicerata: Eurypterida) preserve so-called `horn organs' which we here demonstrate as being equivalent to the spermatophore-producing parts of the genital tract in certain modern arachnids. This clarifies a long-running debate about sexing eurypterids based on the shape of the median abdominal (or genital) appendage. To our knowledge this is also the oldest direct evidence for spermatophore-mediated sperm transfer in the fossil record and suggests that eurypterids had evolved mating techniques using spermatophores as early as the Silurian, a valuable prerequisite for life on land. Spermatophores are absent in sea spiders (Pycnogonida) and horseshoe crabs (Xiphosura); thus the shared presence of sclerotized sperm-transfer devices in eurypterids and arachnids is a novel character, newly elucidated here, which offers explicit support for (Eurypterida + Arachnida). For this clade the name Sclerophorata n. nov. is proposed. Arachnida can be further defined by fusion of the originally paired genital opening.
The Entomophthoromycota is a ubiquitous group of fungi best known as pathogens of a wide variety of economically important insect pests, arachnids, and other soil invertebrates, a smaller number of parasites of reptiles, vertebrates (including humans), macromycetes, fern gametophytes, and desmid alg...
Young, Monica R; Hebert, Paul D. N.
Because sequence information is now available for the 648bp barcode region of cytochrome c oxidase 1 (COI) from more than 400,000 animal species, this gene segment can be used to probe patterns of mitochondrial evolution. The present study examines levels of amino acid substitution and the frequency of indels in COI from 4177 species of arachnids, including representatives from all 16 orders and 43% of its families (267/625). It examines divergences at three taxonomic levels—among members of each order to an outgroup, among families in each order and among BINs, a species proxy, in each family. Order Distances vary fourfold (0.10–0.39), while the mean of the Family Distances for the ten orders ranges fivefold (0.07–0.35). BIN Distances show great variation, ranging from 0.01 or less in 12 families to more than 0.25 in eight families. Patterns of amino acid substitution in COI are generally congruent with previously reported variation in nucleotide substitution rates in arachnids, but provide some new insights, such as clear rate acceleration in the Opiliones. By revealing a strong association between elevated rates of nucleotide and amino acid substitution, this study builds evidence for the selective importance of the rate variation among arachnid lineages. Moreover, it establishes that groups whose COI genes have elevated levels of amino acid substitution also regularly possess indels, a dramatic form of protein reconfiguration. Overall, this study suggests that the mitochondrial genome of some arachnid groups is dynamic with high rates of amino acid substitution and frequent indels, while it is ‘locked down’ in others. Dynamic genomes are most prevalent in arachnids with short generation times, but the possible impact of breeding system deserves investigation since many of the rapidly evolving lineages reproduce by haplodiploidy, a mode of reproduction absent in ‘locked down’ taxa. PMID:26308206
The arachnid Nuctenea sclopetaria (Clerck) which possesses a neurogenic heart, measuring the heartbeat is under efferent control through a dorsal nerve arising from a brain center is discussed. It was shown that the heartrate of this spider is also modulated by an afferent input associated with small increments of gravity. A compressive force on the order of 40 micron is sufficient to elicit a threshold change in heart rate for a typical (100mg) spider. This obtains in a hyper-Gz field less than 1.001. The functional relationship between gravity and heartrate is logarithmic between the absolute threshold and at least 1.5 Gz. A model was proposed in which equilibrium and movement are maintained by changes in blood pressure. It is concluded that the arachnid equilibrium system is like a weight detector which employs a hydraulic compensatory mechanism.
those of odonates ( dragonflies ). Our comparative exploration has also included studies of visually adept arachnids. These also have distinct...distant from the kind of “real world ” situation that any insect confronts. Towards this end, we have acquired two iPhones, and we are devising... world . Again, if the insect visual system is to be reverse engineered as a step towards devising artificial visual processors for robots and machines
Arachnids are an important group of arthropods. They are: diverse and abundant; a major constituent of many terrestrial ecosystems; and possess a deep and extensive fossil record. In recent years a number of exceptionally preserved arachnid fossils have been investigated using tomography and associated techniques, providing valuable insights into their morphology. Here we use X-ray microtomography to reconstruct members of two extinct arachnid orders. In the Haptopoda, we demonstrate the presence of ‘clasp-knife’ chelicerae, and our novel redescription of a member of the Phalangiotarbida highlights leg details, but fails to resolve chelicerae in the group due to their small size. As a result of these reconstructions, tomographic studies of three-dimensionally preserved fossils now exist for three of the four extinct orders, and for fossil representatives of several extant ones. Such studies constitute a valuable source of high fidelity data for constructing phylogenies. To illustrate this, here we present a cladistic analysis of the chelicerates to accompany these reconstructions. This is based on a previously published matrix, expanded to include fossil taxa and relevant characters, and allows us to: cladistically place the extinct arachnid orders; explicitly test some earlier hypotheses from the literature; and demonstrate that the addition of fossils to phylogenetic analyses can have broad implications. Phylogenies based on chelicerate morphology—in contrast to molecular studies—have achieved elements of consensus in recent years. Our work suggests that these results are not robust to the addition of novel characters or fossil taxa. Hypotheses surrounding chelicerate phylogeny remain in a state of flux. PMID:25405073
Masta, Susan E; Klann, Anja E; Podsiadlowski, Lars
Arachnids are an ancient and diverse group of arthropods, yet few representative mitochondrial genomes have been published for most of the 11 orders. Here, we present and compare sequence and genomic data from two complete mitochondrial genomes from the arachnid order Solifugae (the camel spiders or wind scorpions), representing two families, Ammotrechidae and Eremobatidae. We also make genome-level and sequence comparisons between these taxa and the horseshoe crab, a chelicerate from the sister group to arachnids. In their organization, the two solifuge mitochondrial genomes are similar to that of the horseshoe crab, although both of the solifuges possess a region of repeated sequence. All 13 protein-coding genes and the two ribosomal RNA genes are of similar sizes to those found in the horseshoe crab. The ammotrechid and the eremobatid each have one tRNA gene that differs in location from those of other chelicerates, suggesting that these translocations occurred after the divergence of Solifugae from other arachnid lineages. All 22 tRNA genes in both solifuges are inferred to form secondary structures that are typical of those found in other metazoan mt genomes. However, in the eremobatid, the tRNA(Ser(UCN)) gene in the repeat region appears to have undergone partial duplication and loss of function, and a new tRNA(Ser(UCN)) gene has been created de novo. Our divergence data, in conjunction with the fossil record, indicate that these two solifuge families diverged more than 230 million years ago. Thus, despite several gene rearrangements and duplications, these data indicate a remarkable degree of evolutionary stasis.
Over its fifty year history nearly twenty percent of the papers published in the Revista de Biología Tropical have been about insects and arachnids. In the 1950's papers on arthropods of medical importance were dominant, in the 1960's there was a poliferation of papers on bees, and in more recent years the subjects have become increasingly diverse. In terms of nationality of contributing authors, the journal appears to have become increasingly international in later years.
de Silva, S. L.; Bailey, J. E.
Developing criteria to differentiate between different lithologies is crucial to unraveling the history of planetary surfaces. The presence of ignimbrites on Mars has been debated for over three decades. If correct, this interpretation has implications for the style of volcanism, the evolution of magmas and volatiles in the mantle and crust, the presence of water, and the evolution of the atmosphere. Ongoing work on the surface patterns of terrestrial ignimbrites in the Central Andes reveal a class of features related to post-depositional degassing that maybe unique to ignimbrites. We focus on interconnected broadly concentric zones of polygonally-fractured intense alteration that form the cores to an extensive radiating fracture network. These are informally called 'arachnids' or 'matrix bugs'. Field investigation reveals abundant sulphur and hydrothermal alteration of the cores with a clear thermal zonation. Resulting induration manifests as elevated core regions and indurated ridges that control the development of yardangs. The character and spacing of the arachnids suggests their formation is related to the presence of external water. The manifestation of these features varies with the degree of induration of the ignimbrites, which is a rough proxy for the volume of the deposit. Arachnids and bugs maybe part of a genre of post-depositional thermal and volatile release features in ignimbrites that include phreatic explosion craters, columnar jointing and fumarolic mounds. These features maybe unique to ignimbrites and may provide a distinct criterion for their identification with high resolution remotely sensed data in regions with little dust cover. Recognising such features in higher resolution data such as HiRiSe on Mars may be limited by the extensive dust cover.
Critters and creatures can strike fear into anyone who thinks about dangerous animals. This article focuses on the management of the most common North American scorpion, arachnid, hymenoptera, and snake envenomations that cause clinically significant problems. Water creatures and less common animal envenomations are not covered in this article. Critical care management of envenomed patients can be challenging for unfamiliar clinicians. Although the animals are located in specific geographic areas, patients envenomed on passenger airliners and those who travel to endemic areas may present to health care facilities distant from the exposure.
The gravito-inertial transfer function of the orb-weaving spider was evaluated by changes in the cardiac reflex. A non-intrusive method, using a laser system recorded the cardiac pulse. Between 1.001 and 1.5 Gz the data are 'best-fit' by a log function (r-squared 0.92). The response of the neurogenic heart is seen to be a good dependent variable for invetebrate research. The arachnid lyriform organ has those qualities which complement the obtained gravity function. It is hypothesized that the cardiac pump maintains the spiders equilibrium in the gravito-inertial field.
Kang, Jun K; Bhate, Chinmoy; Schwartz, Robert A
Spider bites represent an unusual and potentially over-represented clinical diagnosis. Despite a common fear of spiders, known as arachnophobia, current knowledge suggests that only a small number of families within the order Araneae are medically relevant. Moreover, most cutaneous spider reactions, including both evenomations and physical trauma, produce mild, local symptoms which may be managed with supportive care alone. The differential diagnosis for spider bites may be broad, especially if the offending arachnid is not seen or found. We describe a series of spiders relevant to the dermatologist in the United States.
McGhee, Stephen; Weiner, Aaron; Finnegan, Alan; Visovsky, Constance; Clochesy, John M; Graves, Brian
Envenomation by spiders or scorpions is a public health problem in many parts of the world and is not isolated to the tropics and subtropics. Spiders and scorpions can be unintentionally transported globally, and keeping them as pets is becoming more popular, so envenomation can occur anywhere. Emergency nurses should be prepared to assess and treat patients who present with a bite or sting. This article gives an overview of the signs, symptoms and treatment of envenomation by species of arachnids that are clinically significant to humans.
Beck, Christoph; Garreau, Guillaume; Georgiou, Julius
Sand-scorpions and many other arachnids perceive their environment by using their feet to sense ground waves. They are able to determine amplitudes the size of an atom and locate the acoustic stimuli with an accuracy of within 13° based on their neuronal anatomy. We present here a prototype sound source localization system, inspired from this impressive performance. The system presented utilizes custom-built hardware with eight MEMS microphones, one for each foot, to acquire the acoustic scene, and a spiking neural model to localize the sound source. The current implementation shows smaller localization error than those observed in nature. PMID:27833526
Sagastume-Espinoza, Kevin O; Longhorn, Stuart J; Santibáñez-López, Carlos E
Three species of genus Diplocentrus are found in north-northwestern Honduras. These species represent the southern east limits of Diplocentrus' distribution. In recent years, a broad survey of arachnids in Honduras has yielded a collection of several specimens of an undescribed species from two islands in northern Honduras. This new species represents the second species of the genus inhabiting an island. The present contribution describes this new species, and compares it against its most similar relatives. A dichotomous key for the identification of the species of Diplocentrus in Honduras is also included.
Hall-Mendelin, S; Craig, S B; Hall, R A; O’Donoghue, P; Atwell, R B; Tulsiani, S M; Graham, G C
Ticks are obligate haematophagous ectoparasites of various animals, including humans, and are abundant in temperate and tropical zones around the world. They are the most important vectors for the pathogens causing disease in livestock and second only to mosquitoes as vectors of pathogens causing human disease. Ticks are formidable arachnids, capable of not only transmitting the pathogens involved in some infectious diseases but also of inducing allergies and causing toxicoses and paralysis, with possible fatal outcomes for the host. This review focuses on tick paralysis, the role of the Australian paralysis tick Ixodes holocyclus, and the role of toxin molecules from this species in causing paralysis in the host. PMID:21396246
Dunlop, Jason A
Chelicerata probably appeared during the Cambrian period. Their precise origins remain unclear, but may lie among the so-called great appendage arthropods. By the late Cambrian there is evidence for both Pycnogonida and Euchelicerata. Relationships between the principal euchelicerate lineages are unresolved, but Xiphosura, Eurypterida and Chasmataspidida (the last two extinct), are all known as body fossils from the Ordovician. The fourth group, Arachnida, was found monophyletic in most recent studies. Arachnids are known unequivocally from the Silurian (a putative Ordovician mite remains controversial), and the balance of evidence favours a common, terrestrial ancestor. Recent work recognises four principal arachnid clades: Stethostomata, Haplocnemata, Acaromorpha and Pantetrapulmonata, of which the pantetrapulmonates (spiders and their relatives) are probably the most robust grouping. Stethostomata includes Scorpiones (Silurian-Recent) and Opiliones (Devonian-Recent), while Haplocnemata includes Pseudoscorpiones (Devonian-Recent) and Solifugae (Carboniferous-Recent). Recent works increasingly favour diphyletic mite origins, whereby Acaromorpha comprises Actinotrichida (Devonian-Recent), Anactinotrichida (Cretaceous-Recent) and Ricinulei (Carboniferous-Recent). The positions of the Phalangiotarbida (Devonian-Permian) and Palpigradi (Neogene-Recent) are poorly resolved. Finally, Pantetrapulmonata includes the following groups (listed here in their most widely recovered phylogenetic sequence): Trigonotarbida (Silurian-Permian), Uraraneida (Devonian-Permian), Araneae (Carboniferous-Recent), Haptopoda (Carboniferous), Amblypygi (?Devonian-Recent), Thelyphonida (Carboniferous-Recent) and Schizomida (Paleogene-Recent).
Murienne, Jérôme; Benavides, Ligia R; Prendini, Lorenzo; Hormiga, Gustavo; Giribet, Gonzalo
The refugial speciation model, or 'species pump', is widely accepted in the context of tropical biogeography and has been advocated as an explanation for present species distributions in tropical Western and Central Africa. In order to test this hypothesis, a phylogeny of the cryptic arachnid order Ricinulei, based on four nuclear and mitochondrial DNA markers, was inferred. This ancient clade of litter-dwelling arthropods, endemic to the primary forests of Western and Central Africa and the Neotropics, might provide insights into the mode and tempo of evolution in Africa. Twenty-six African ricinuleid specimens were sampled from eight countries spanning the distribution of Ricinulei on the continent, and analysed together with Neotropical samples plus other arachnid outgroups. The phylogenetic and molecular dating results suggest that Ricinulei diversified in association with the fragmentation of Gondwana. The early diversification of Ricinoides in Western and Central Africa around 88 (±33) Ma fits old palaeogeographical events better than recent climatic fluctuations. Unlike most recent molecular studies, these results agree with fossil evidence, suggesting that refugia may have acted as 'museums' conserving ancient diversity rather than as engines generating diversity during successive episodes of climatic fluctuation in Africa.
Astrin, Jonas J.; Höfer, Hubert; Spelda, Jörg; Holstein, Joachim; Bayer, Steffen; Hendrich, Lars; Huber, Bernhard A.; Kielhorn, Karl-Hinrich; Krammer, Hans-Joachim; Lemke, Martin; Monje, Juan Carlos; Morinière, Jérôme; Rulik, Björn; Petersen, Malte; Janssen, Hannah; Muster, Christoph
As part of the German Barcode of Life campaign, over 3500 arachnid specimens have been collected and analyzed: ca. 3300 Araneae and 200 Opiliones, belonging to almost 600 species (median: 4 individuals/species). This covers about 60% of the spider fauna and more than 70% of the harvestmen fauna recorded for Germany. The overwhelming majority of species could be readily identified through DNA barcoding: median distances between closest species lay around 9% in spiders and 13% in harvestmen, while in 95% of the cases, intraspecific distances were below 2.5% and 8% respectively, with intraspecific medians at 0.3% and 0.2%. However, almost 20 spider species, most notably in the family Lycosidae, could not be separated through DNA barcoding (although many of them present discrete morphological differences). Conspicuously high interspecific distances were found in even more cases, hinting at cryptic species in some instances. A new program is presented: DiStats calculates the statistics needed to meet DNA barcode release criteria. Furthermore, new generic COI primers useful for a wide range of taxa (also other than arachnids) are introduced. PMID:27681175
Murienne, Jérôme; Benavides, Ligia R.; Prendini, Lorenzo; Hormiga, Gustavo; Giribet, Gonzalo
The refugial speciation model, or ‘species pump’, is widely accepted in the context of tropical biogeography and has been advocated as an explanation for present species distributions in tropical Western and Central Africa. In order to test this hypothesis, a phylogeny of the cryptic arachnid order Ricinulei, based on four nuclear and mitochondrial DNA markers, was inferred. This ancient clade of litter-dwelling arthropods, endemic to the primary forests of Western and Central Africa and the Neotropics, might provide insights into the mode and tempo of evolution in Africa. Twenty-six African ricinuleid specimens were sampled from eight countries spanning the distribution of Ricinulei on the continent, and analysed together with Neotropical samples plus other arachnid outgroups. The phylogenetic and molecular dating results suggest that Ricinulei diversified in association with the fragmentation of Gondwana. The early diversification of Ricinoides in Western and Central Africa around 88 (±33) Ma fits old palaeogeographical events better than recent climatic fluctuations. Unlike most recent molecular studies, these results agree with fossil evidence, suggesting that refugia may have acted as ‘museums’ conserving ancient diversity rather than as engines generating diversity during successive episodes of climatic fluctuation in Africa. PMID:23193047
Manuel, Michaël; Jager, Muriel; Murienne, Jérôme; Clabaut, Céline; Le Guyader, Hervé
The pycnogonids (or sea spiders) are an enigmatic group of arthropods, classified in recent phylogenies as a sister-group of either euchelicerates (horseshoe crabs and arachnids), or all other extant arthropods. Because of their bizarre morpho-anatomy, homologies with other arthropod taxa have been difficult to assess. We review the main morphology-based hypotheses of correspondence between anterior segments of pycnogonids, arachnids and mandibulates. In an attempt to provide new relevant data to these controversial issues, we performed a PCR survey of Hox genes in two pycnogonid species, Endeis spinosa and Nymphon gracile, from which we could recover nine and six Hox genes, respectively. Phylogenetic analyses allowed to identify their orthology relationships. The Deformed gene from E. spinosa and the abdominal-A gene from N. gracile exhibit unusual sequence divergence in their homeodomains, which, in the latter case, may be correlated with the extreme reduction of the posterior region in pycnogonids. Expression patterns of two Hox genes (labial and Deformed) in the E. spinosa protonymphon larva are discussed. The anterior boundaries of their expression domains favour homology between sea spider chelifores, euchelicerates chelicerae and mandibulate (first) antennae, in contradistinction with previously proposed alternative schemes such as the protocerebral identity of sea spider chelifores or the absence of a deutocerebrum in chelicerates. In addition, while anatomical and embryological evidences suggest the possibility that the ovigers of sea spiders could be a duplicated pair of pedipalps, the Hox data support them as modified anterior walking legs, consistent with the classical views.
Santos, Adalberto J.; Ferreira, Rodrigo Lopes; Buzatto, Bruno A.
Two new species of the arachnid order Schizomida, Rowlandius ubajara sp.nov. and Rowlandius potiguar sp.nov., are described based on both male and female specimens collected in caves from northeastern Brazil. Rowlandius ubajara is known only from the Ubajara Cave, in the state of Ceará; R. potiguar is recorded from 20 caves of the Apodi Limestone Group, in the state of Rio Grande do Norte. A remarkable dimorphism in male pedipalp length is described and analyzed in R. potiguar. The distribution of male pedipalp length is clearly bimodal in the species, but the two male morphs (homeomorphic and heteromorphic) present some overlap in the sizes of this structure. Moreover, males show a steeper allometry in pedipalp length than females, indicating that this trait is under a different selective regime in males and in females. PMID:23723989
dos Santos, Gilson Costa; Hogan, Jerry A; Willemart, Rodrigo Hirata
Associative learning has been demonstrated in many species of invertebrates, but has not been studied in arachnids, except for some spiders and a whip-spider. Herein, we tested the ability of a Neotropical harvestman, Discocyrtus invalidus (Arachnida, Opiliones) to associate a shelter with a chemical stimulus. We used an arena with a white light at the top and two openings on the floor, one giving access to a dark shelter and the other one closed with a mesh. Filter paper with different chemicals (mate or green tea) surrounded both openings. A harvestman (n=37) was released in the arena and its behavior recorded. The procedure was repeated for 14 consecutive days with each individual. We found that harvestmen got faster at finding the refuge, became less exploratory and tended to move toward the open shelter as the days passed. We conclude that the animals learned to associate the chemical stimulus with the shelter.
Ng, Tzi Bun; Cheung, Randy Chi Fai; Wong, Jack Ho; Ye, Xiu Juan
Living organisms are in perpetual contact with pathogenic microbes, and in encounter with parasites and predators. In order to protect themselves, they produce a variety of antimicrobial proteins and peptides. One family of such protective or defensive proteins is known as defensins, characterized by a cationic character, a low molecular mass, and an abundance of cysteine residues. Defensins from mammals and plants have been succinctly reviewed by a number of experts in this ever-growing field. This review encompasses the defensin plectasin from the saprophytic fungus Pseudoplectania nigrella as well as defensins and defensin-like peptides from invertebrate animals such as jellyfish, sponges, nematodes, crustaceans, arachnids, insects, bivalves, snails, and sea urchins. Big defensins from mollusks are mentioned together with amphioxus big defensin. The structures and activities of these defense proteins are discussed.
Bolfarini, Marcio P; Bichuette, Maria Elina
We describe a new species of the genus Endecous Saussure (1878), recorded at the Lapa do Cipó and Olhos d'Água caves, which are located in the Itacarambi municipality, Minas Gerais state, Eastern Brazil. Another species, E. aguassay Mews, 2008 was recordedin the surroundings of the caves. The genus Endecous corresponds to the most common cricket in Brazilian hypogean environments. In general, these crickets inhabit the areas around cave entrances up to the aphotic zones of caves. The genus Endecous is the only cave cricket to present troglobiomorphosis, i.e., an apterous condition. The distribution of the new species is limited to these two caves, which suggests an endemism in this karst system similar to the distribution of other endemic animals, such as harvestmen and amblypygid arachnids. This species is the sixth troglobitic one described for Olhos d'Água cave, which sets this cave as a spot of subterranean fauna in Brazil.
The following features of the arachnid gravity system were studied. (1) the absolute threshold to hyper-gz is quite low indicating fine proprioreceptive properties of the lyriform organ, the Gz/vibration detector; (2) the neurogenic heart of the spider is a good dependent variable for assessing its behavior to Gz and other stimuli which produce mechanical effects on the exoskeleton; (3) Not only is the cardiac response useful but it is now understood to be an integral part of the system which compensates for the consequences of gravity in the spider (an hydraulic leg extension); and (4) a theoretical model was proposed in which a mechanical amplifier, the leg lever, converts a weak force (at the tarsus) to a strong force (at the patella), capable of compressing the exoskeleton and consequently the lyriform receptor.
Giribet, Gonzalo; Sharma, Prashant P
Opiliones are one of the largest arachnid orders, with more than 6,500 species in 50 families. Many of these families have been erected or reorganized in the last few years since the publication of The Biology of Opiliones. Recent years have also seen an explosion in phylogenetic work on Opiliones, as well as in studies using Opiliones as test cases to address biogeographic and evolutionary questions more broadly. Accelerated activity in the study of Opiliones evolution has been facilitated by the discovery of several key fossils, including the oldest known Opiliones fossil, which represents a new, extinct suborder. Study of the group's biology has also benefited from rapid accrual of genomic resources, particularly with respect to transcriptomes and functional genetic tools. The rapid emergence and utility of Phalangium opilio as a model for evolutionary developmental biology of arthropods serve as demonstrative evidence of a new area of study in Opiliones biology, made possible through transcriptomic data.
Gnädinger, Markus; Nentwig, Wolfgang; Fuchs, Joan; Ceschi, Alessandro
Knowledge of spider bites in Central Europe derives mainly from anecdotal case presentations; therefore we aimed to collect cases systematically. From June 2011 to November 2012 we prospectively collected 17 cases of alleged spider bites, and together with two spontaneous notifications later on, our database totaled 19 cases. Among them, eight cases could be verified. The causative species were: Cheiracanthium punctorium (3), Zoropsis spinimana (2), Amaurobius ferox, Tegenaria atrica and Malthonica ferruginea (1 each). Clinical presentation was generally mild, with the exception of Cheiracanthium punctorium, and patients recovered fully without sequelae. In Switzerland, spider bites generally have a benign clinical course, which is characterised by minor effects, with rapid and complete recovery. Since only verified spider bites can be regarded as spider bites, in the case of clinically important arachnidism, the spider should be sent to an expert for identification. Our study may help to diminish spider fear and reassure people who have experienced a bite.
White, Julian; Weinstein, Scott A
The Australian white-tailed spiders ("WTS"; Lamponidae: notably Lampona cylindrata &Lampona murina) have a continuing reputation on Internet sites as a cause of skin ulceration, labelled "necrotic arachnidism", despite an increasing number of peer-reviewed publications debunking this reputation, with >135 confirmed cases now reported without any evidence of necrosis. We present here a case of confirmed WTS bite in a 42-year old male, followed for over a month, with photos of bite site signs and no development of skin ulceration/necrosis. The patient was initially alarmed by information on the Internet suggesting local necrosis would result from the bite. We discuss the evolution of knowledge about bites by the WTS, and the persistence of misconceptions about their factually mild medical significance.
Wynne, J. Judson; Drost, Charles
Caves in northern Arizona and western New Mexico are being researched and inventoried by scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and cooperating agencies. Southwestern caves have been little studied, and scientists are now finding that these lightless and nutrient-poor natural systems are home to life forms found nowhere else on Earth. This research has identified unique communities of arthropods (insects, arachnids, and crustaceans) that include 3 new genera, or groups of species, and at least 15 new species - some only known to exist in a single cave. This exciting research is yielding information that will be used by resource managers to better understand and protect fragile and important Southwestern cave ecosystems.
Ensor, K.L.; Dusi, J.L.; White, D.H.
Food habits of the green-backed heron have received much attention recently, though little data exists in the literature on food items fed to nestlings. Analysis of 74 nestling boluses collected between 5 May and 10 July 1985 included four categories: a) number of prey items, b) % of total individuals by number, c) % frequency of herons with that particular prey item, d) % of total diet by weight. By class, fish dominated the diet, followed by insects, amphibians, crustaceans, and arachnids in descending order. Amphibians, however, had a higher % of total diet by weight than insects. The mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) made up the largest part of the diet by # of prey items and % of total individuals by #. Bowfin (Amia calva) was the major prey item by weight. Back-swimmers (F. Notonectidae) occurred in more boluses than any other prey item. Lengths of prey items by class will also be discussed.
Jay, Katya R.; Popkin-Hall, Zachary R.; Coblens, Michelle J.; Oberski, Jill T.; Sharma, Prashant P.; Boyer, Sarah L.
Abstract The genus Austropurcellia is a lineage of tiny leaf-litter arachnids that inhabit tropical rainforests throughout the eastern coast of Queensland, Australia. The majority of their diversity is found within the Wet Tropics rainforests of northeast Queensland, an area known for its exceptionally high levels of biodiversity and endemism. Studying the biogeographic history of limited-dispersal invertebrates in the Wet Tropics can provide insight into the role of climatic changes such as rainforest contraction in shaping rainforest biodiversity patterns. Here we describe six new species of mite harvestmen from the Wet Tropics rainforests, identified using morphological data, and discuss the biogeography of Austropurcellia with distributions of all known species. With this taxonomic contribution, the majority of the known diversity of the genus has been documented. PMID:27199608
Jay, Katya R; Popkin-Hall, Zachary R; Coblens, Michelle J; Oberski, Jill T; Sharma, Prashant P; Boyer, Sarah L
The genus Austropurcellia is a lineage of tiny leaf-litter arachnids that inhabit tropical rainforests throughout the eastern coast of Queensland, Australia. The majority of their diversity is found within the Wet Tropics rainforests of northeast Queensland, an area known for its exceptionally high levels of biodiversity and endemism. Studying the biogeographic history of limited-dispersal invertebrates in the Wet Tropics can provide insight into the role of climatic changes such as rainforest contraction in shaping rainforest biodiversity patterns. Here we describe six new species of mite harvestmen from the Wet Tropics rainforests, identified using morphological data, and discuss the biogeography of Austropurcellia with distributions of all known species. With this taxonomic contribution, the majority of the known diversity of the genus has been documented.
Quiñones-Lebrón, Shakira G; Kralj-Fišer, Simona; Gregorič, Matjaž; Lokovšek, Tjaša; Čandek, Klemen; Haddad, Charles R; Kuntner, Matjaž
Though not uncommon in other animals, heterospecific mating is rarely reported in arachnids. We investigated sexual interactions among four closely related and syntopical African golden orbweb spiders, Nephila inaurata, N. fenestrata, N. komaci, and N. senegalensis. In two South African localities, female webs were often inhabited by heterospecific males that sometimes outnumbered conspecifics. Species association of males with females was random in nature. In subsequent laboratory choice experiments, N. inaurata males chose heterospecific females in 30% of trials. We also observed natural mating interactions between N. inaurata males and N. komaci females, and between N. komaci males and N. inaurata females in laboratory experiments. While heterospecific mating in the laboratory never produced offspring, conspecific mating did. We discuss potential ecological and evolutionary consequences of heterospecific mating interactions in Nephila that may be particularly costly to the rarer species.
van Hemmen, J. Leo
Sand scorpions, and many other arachnids, find their prey at night by localizing the source of mechanical waves produced by prey movements. Substrate vibrations propagating through sand evoke stimulus-locked action potentials from slit sensilla on the scorpion's eight `feet' (tarsi). We present a neuronal model to account for stimulus angle determination in a two-dimensional plane using a population of second-order neurons, each receiving excitatory input from one tarsus and inhibition from a triad opposite to it. This input opens a time window whose width determines the firing probability of each of the second-order neurons. The population then `votes' for the direction. Stochastic resonance is realized through tuning the balance between excitation and inhibition. The agreement with behavioral experiments on sand scorpions is excellent.
Raspotnig, Günther; Bodner, Michaela; Schäffer, Sylvia; Koblmüller, Stephan; Schönhofer, Axel; Karaman, Ivo
Large prosomal scent glands constitute a major synapomorphic character of the arachnid order Opiliones. These glands produce a variety of chemicals very specific to opilionid taxa of different taxonomic levels, and thus represent a model system to investigate the evolutionary traits in exocrine secretion chemistry across a phylogenetically old group of animals. The chemically best-studied opilionid group is certainly Laniatores, and currently available chemical data allow first hypotheses linking the phylogeny of this group to the evolution of major chemical classes of secretion chemistry. Such hypotheses are essential to decide upon a best-fitting explanation of the distribution of scent-gland secretion compounds across extant laniatorean taxa, and hence represent a key toward a well-founded opilionid chemosystematics.
Livshits, Zhanna; Bernstein, Benjamin; Sorkin, Louis N; Smith, Silas W; Hoffman, Robert S
Although wolf spider venom has been implicated in necrotic arachnidism without acceptably documented verification, limited, prospectively collected data demonstrate a lack of cutaneous necrosis. The infrequent nature of exposure and inherent difficulty in confirming wolf spider bites in humans makes it challenging to study such envenomations. We present the case of a 20 year-old man with confirmed exposure to the wolf spider who developed cutaneous erythema with ulceration following the bite. There was no evidence of skin necrosis. He was treated with aggressive wound care and systemic antibiotics for wound infection, with subsequent resolution of symptoms. This case adds to the limited knowledge regarding wolf spider envenomations and describes the clinical effects and management of wolf spider envenomation.
Quiñones-Lebrón, Shakira G.; Kralj-Fišer, Simona; Gregorič, Matjaž; Lokovšek, Tjaša; Čandek, Klemen; Haddad, Charles R.; Kuntner, Matjaž
Though not uncommon in other animals, heterospecific mating is rarely reported in arachnids. We investigated sexual interactions among four closely related and syntopical African golden orbweb spiders, Nephila inaurata, N. fenestrata, N. komaci, and N. senegalensis. In two South African localities, female webs were often inhabited by heterospecific males that sometimes outnumbered conspecifics. Species association of males with females was random in nature. In subsequent laboratory choice experiments, N. inaurata males chose heterospecific females in 30% of trials. We also observed natural mating interactions between N. inaurata males and N. komaci females, and between N. komaci males and N. inaurata females in laboratory experiments. While heterospecific mating in the laboratory never produced offspring, conspecific mating did. We discuss potential ecological and evolutionary consequences of heterospecific mating interactions in Nephila that may be particularly costly to the rarer species. PMID:27845369
Predel, R; Wegener, C
CAPA peptides have been isolated from a broad range of insect species as well as an arachnid, and can be grouped into the periviscerokinin and pyrokinin peptide families. In insects, CAPA peptides are the characteristic and most abundant neuropeptides in the abdominal neurohemal system. In many species, CAPA peptides exert potent myotropic effects on different muscles such as the heart. In others, including blood-sucking insects able to transmit serious diseases, CAPA peptides have strong diuretic or anti-diuretic effects and thus are potentially of medical importance. CAPA peptides undergo cell-type-specific sorting and packaging, and are the first insect neuropeptides shown to be differentially processed. In this review, we discuss the current knowledge on the structure, distribution, receptors and physiological actions of the CAPA peptides.
Gomez, Hernan F.; Krywko, Diann M.; Stoecker, William V.
Study objective Dermal lesions from unrelated arthropod species and medical causes appear similar to Loxosceles species (brown recluse spider) bites. This may result in delayed diagnosis and treatment. We developed a sensitive Loxosceles species venom enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and characterized the specificity of the assay by evaluating antigenic cross-reactivity from a variety of North American arthropod venoms. Methods North American arthropod (14 spiders, 2 scorpions, and 1 bee) venoms were studied. Three venom amounts (diluted in 100 μL of ELISA buffer) were assayed: 16,000 ng, 2,000 ng, and 40 ng. The latter quantity was selected because this is the observed maximum amount of venom we detect when inoculating dermis with amounts likely to be deposited by a spider bite. The larger venom amounts are overwhelming quantities designed to test the limits of the assay for arthropod venom cross-reactivity. Similar amounts of Loxosceles species venom and bovine albumin served as positive and negative controls, respectively. Results At the lowest amount of venom tested (40 ng), the ELISA detected only the Loxosceles species positive control. When 2,000 ng was assayed, only Scytodes fusca and Kukulcania hibernalis arachnid venoms (in addition to Loxosceles species) cross-reacted to the assay. Finally, at 16,000 ng, the ELISA assay modestly detected Diguetia canities, Heteropoda venatoria, Tegenaria agrestis, Plectreurys tristes, Dolomedes tenebrosus, and Hadrurus arizonensis arachnid venoms. Conclusion Cross-reactivity was observed in 8 of 17 North American arthropod venoms when large venom amounts were assayed with a Loxosceles species ELISA. By using a relevant quantity of venom, 40 ng, the assay was specific for Loxosceles species venom. The venom specificity of the ELISA may allow clinical application in Loxosceles species endemic regions of North America. PMID:11973553
Park, Shin-Ju; Lee, Yong-Seok; Hwang, Ui Wook
Background The phylogenetic position of pycnogonids is a long-standing and controversial issue in arthropod phylogeny. This controversy has recently been rekindled by differences in the conclusions based on neuroanatomical data concerning the chelifore and the patterns of Hox expression. The mitochondrial genome of a sea spider, Nymphon gracile (Pycnogonida, Nymphonidae), was recently reported in an attempt to address this issue. However, N. gracile appears to be a long-branch taxon on the phylogenetic tree and exhibits a number of peculiar features, such as 10 tRNA translocations and even an inversion of several protein-coding genes. Sequences of other pycnogonid mitochondrial genomes are needed if the position of pycnogonids is to be elucidated on this basis. Results The complete mitochondrial genome (15,474 bp) of a sea spider (Achelia bituberculata) belonging to the family Ammotheidae, which combines a number of anatomical features considered plesiomorphic with respect to other pycnogonids, was sequenced and characterized. The genome organization shows the features typical of most metazoan animal genomes (37 tightly-packed genes). The overall gene arrangement is completely identical to the arthropod ground pattern, with one exception: the position of the trnQ gene between the rrnS gene and the control region. Maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference trees inferred from the amino acid sequences of mitochondrial protein-coding genes consistently indicate that the pycnogonids (A. bituberculata and N. gracile) may be closely related to the clade of Acari and Araneae. Conclusion The complete mitochondrial genome sequence of A. bituberculata (Family Ammotheidae) and the previously-reported partial sequence of Endeis spinosa show the gene arrangement patterns typical of arthropods (Limulus-like), but they differ markedly from that of N. gracile. Phylogenetic analyses based on mitochondrial protein-coding genes showed that Pycnogonida may be authentic arachnids
Xie, Yan; Wang, Sung
A total of 2441 invertebrate species were evaluated using the IUCN Red List Criteria and Regional Guidelines. Approximately 30 experts were involved in this project, which covered a wide range of species, including jellyfish, corals, planarians, snails, mollusks, bivalves, decapods, benthic crustaceans, arachnids (spiders, scorpions), butterflies, moths, beetles, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, sea stars, acorn worms and lancelets. In general, invertebrate species in China were found to be severely threatened, with 0.9% being critically endangered, 13.44% endangered and 20.63% vulnerable. All species of hermatypic corals and planarians are threatened. More than 80% of evaluated species face serious threat due to habitat destruction by coral collection, logging, non-woody vegetation collection, timber plantations, non-timber plantations, extraction and/or livestock. Other threats are intrinsic factors, harvesting by humans, alien invasive species and pollution. The main intrinsic factors contributing to the high levels of threat are limited dispersal and restricted range. No conservation measures have been taken for 70% of the threatened invertebrates evaluated. Existing conservation measures include: strengthening of national and international legislation (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), increasing public awareness, studying population trends/monitoring, and establishment of protected areas. The major conservation measure employed is strengthening of policies. Relative to the situation worldwide (2006 IUCN Red List), there is little information available about invertebrate extinctions in China.
Teder, Tiit; Vellau, Helen; Tammaru, Toomas
Optimality models predict that diet-induced bivariate reaction norms for age and size at maturity can have diverse shapes, with the slope varying from negative to positive. To evaluate these predictions, we perform a quantitative review of relevant data, using a literature-derived database of body sizes and development times for over 200 insect species. We show that bivariate reaction norms with a negative slope prevail in nearly all taxonomic and ecological categories of insects as well as in some other ectotherm taxa with comparable life histories (arachnids and amphibians). In insects, positive slopes are largely limited to species, which feed on discrete resource items, parasitoids in particular. By contrast, with virtually no meaningful exceptions, herbivorous and predatory insects display reaction norms with a negative slope. This is consistent with the idea that predictable resource depletion, a scenario selecting for positively sloped reaction norms, is not frequent for these insects. Another source of such selection-a positive correlation between resource levels and juvenile mortality rates-should similarly be rare among insects. Positive slopes can also be predicted by models which integrate life-history evolution and population dynamics. As bottom-up regulation is not common in most insect groups, such models may not be most appropriate for insects.
Isbister, Geoffrey K; Fan, Hui Wen
Spiders are a source of intrigue and fear, and several myths exist about their medical effects. Many people believe that bites from various spider species cause necrotic ulceration, despite evidence that most suspected cases of necrotic arachnidism are caused by something other than a spider bite. Latrodectism and loxoscelism are the most important clinical syndromes resulting from spider bite. Latrodectism results from bites by widow spiders (Latrodectus spp) and causes local, regional, or generalised pain associated with non-specific symptoms and autonomic effects. Loxoscelism is caused by Loxosceles spp, and the cutaneous form manifests as pain and erythema that can develop into a necrotic ulcer. Systemic loxoscelism is characterised by intravascular haemolysis and renal failure on occasion. Other important spiders include the Australian funnel-web spider (Atrax spp and Hadronyche spp) and the armed spider (Phoneutria spp) from Brazil. Antivenoms are an important treatment for spider envenomation but have been less successful than have those for snake envenomation, with concerns about their effectiveness for both latrodectism and loxoscelism.
Myamoto, Daniela Tiemi; Pidde-Queiroz, Giselle; Gonçalves-de-Andrade, Rute Maria; Pedroso, Aurélio; van den Berg, Carmen W.; Tambourgi, Denise V.
The human complement system is composed of more than 30 proteins and many of these have conserved domains that allow tracing the phylogenetic evolution. The complement system seems to be initiated with the appearance of C3 and factor B (FB), the only components found in some protostomes and cnidarians, suggesting that the alternative pathway is the most ancient. Here, we present the characterization of an arachnid homologue of the human complement component FB from the spider Loxosceles laeta. This homologue, named Lox-FB, was identified from a total RNA L. laeta spider venom gland library and was amplified using RACE-PCR techniques and specific primers. Analysis of the deduced amino acid sequence and the domain structure showed significant similarity to the vertebrate and invertebrate FB/C2 family proteins. Lox-FB has a classical domain organization composed of a control complement protein domain (CCP), a von Willebrand Factor domain (vWFA), and a serine protease domain (SP). The amino acids involved in Mg2+ metal ion dependent adhesion site (MIDAS) found in the vWFA domain in the vertebrate C2/FB proteins are well conserved; however, the classic catalytic triad present in the serine protease domain is not conserved in Lox-FB. Similarity and phylogenetic analyses indicated that Lox-FB shares a major identity (43%) and has a close evolutionary relationship with the third isoform of FB-like protein (FB-3) from the jumping spider Hasarius adansoni belonging to the Family Salcitidae. PMID:26771533
Mlera, Luwanika; Melik, Wessam; Bloom, Marshall E.
In nature, vector-borne flaviviruses are persistently cycled between either the tick or mosquito vector and small mammals such as rodents, skunks, and swine. These viruses account for considerable human morbidity and mortality worldwide. Increasing and substantial evidence of viral persistence in humans, which includes the isolation of RNA by RT-PCR and infectious virus by culture, continues to be reported. Viral persistence can also be established in vitro in various human, animal, arachnid and insect cell lines in culture. Although some research has focused on the potential roles of defective virus particles, evasion of the immune response through the manipulation of autophagy and/or apoptosis, the precise mechanism of flavivirus persistence is still not well understood. We propose additional research for further understanding of how viral persistence is established in different systems. Avenues for additional studies include determining if the multifunctional flavivirus protein NS5 has a role in viral persistence, the development of relevant animal models of viral persistence as well as investigating the host responses that allow vector borne flavivirus replication without detrimental effects on infected cells. Such studies might shed more light on the viral-host relationships, and could be used to unravel the mechanisms for establishment of persistence. PMID:24737600
Roy, Lise; Bouvier, Jean-Charles; Lavigne, Claire; Galès, Mathieu; Buronfosse, Thierry
Pesticide applications have a strong impact on biodiversity in agroecosystems. The present study aimed to assess the impact of pest control strategies on the arthropodofauna of Parus major nests built within nestboxes installed in orchards. Unlike many studied groups, these arthropod communities are not in direct contact with pesticide sprays (on account of their being sheltered by nestboxes) and are also unable to move away from the treated area. In this pilot study, we estimated the prevalence and the taxonomic and ecological diversities of arthropodofauna sampled in the nests and assessed the extent to which the whole and nest-specific arthropodofauna were affected by pest control strategies. Sixteen different insect and arachnid Primary Taxonomic Groups (PTGs, order level or below) were found in nests. The best represented PTGs (≥10% occurrence in years 2007 and 2008) were Psocoptera (Insecta, detritivorous/saprophagous), detritivorous/saprophagous Astigmata (Acari) and hematophagous Mesostigmata (Acari). Pest control strategies had a large impact on the prevalence of arthropods in nests, with higher proportions of nests hosting arthropods in organic orchards than in conventional orchards and with intermediate proportions in nests in Integrated Pest Management orchards. In contrast, pest control strategies had no significant effect on the composition of the arthropod communities when only nests hosting nidicolous arthropods were considered.
Hajdušek, Ondřej; Šíma, Radek; Ayllón, Nieves; Jalovecká, Marie; Perner, Jan; de la Fuente, José; Kopáček, Petr
Ticks are hematophagous arachnids transmitting a wide variety of pathogens including viruses, bacteria, and protozoans to their vertebrate hosts. The tick vector competence has to be intimately linked to the ability of transmitted pathogens to evade tick defense mechanisms encountered on their route through the tick body comprising midgut, hemolymph, salivary glands or ovaries. Tick innate immunity is, like in other invertebrates, based on an orchestrated action of humoral and cellular immune responses. The direct antimicrobial defense in ticks is accomplished by a variety of small molecules such as defensins, lysozymes or by tick-specific antimicrobial compounds such as microplusin/hebraein or 5.3-kDa family proteins. Phagocytosis of the invading microbes by tick hemocytes is likely mediated by the primordial complement-like system composed of thioester-containing proteins, fibrinogen-related lectins and convertase-like factors. Moreover, an important role in survival of the ingested microbes seems to be played by host proteins and redox balance maintenance in the tick midgut. Here, we summarize recent knowledge about the major components of tick immune system and focus on their interaction with the relevant tick-transmitted pathogens, represented by spirochetes (Borrelia), rickettsiae (Anaplasma), and protozoans (Babesia). Availability of the tick genomic database and feasibility of functional genomics based on RNA interference greatly contribute to the understanding of molecular and cellular interplay at the tick-pathogen interface and may provide new targets for blocking the transmission of tick pathogens. PMID:23875177
Sharma, Prashant P.; Schwager, Evelyn E.; Extavour, Cassandra G.; Wheeler, Ward C.
The evolutionary success of the largest animal phylum, Arthropoda, has been attributed to tagmatization, the coordinated evolution of adjacent metameres to form morphologically and functionally distinct segmental regions called tagmata. Specification of regional identity is regulated by the Hox genes, of which 10 are inferred to be present in the ancestor of arthropods. With six different posterior segmental identities divided into two tagmata, the bauplan of scorpions is the most heteronomous within Chelicerata. Expression domains of the anterior eight Hox genes are conserved in previously surveyed chelicerates, but it is unknown how Hox genes regionalize the three tagmata of scorpions. Here, we show that the scorpion Centruroides sculpturatus has two paralogues of all Hox genes except Hox3, suggesting cluster and/or whole genome duplication in this arachnid order. Embryonic anterior expression domain boundaries of each of the last four pairs of Hox genes (two paralogues each of Antp, Ubx, abd-A and Abd-B) are unique and distinguish segmental groups, such as pectines, book lungs and the characteristic tail, while maintaining spatial collinearity. These distinct expression domains suggest neofunctionalization of Hox gene paralogues subsequent to duplication. Our data reconcile previous understanding of Hox gene function across arthropods with the extreme heteronomy of scorpions. PMID:25122224
Gerdol, Marco; Puillandre, Nicolas; Moro, Gianluca De; Guarnaccia, Corrado; Lucafò, Marianna; Benincasa, Monica; Zlatev, Ventislav; Manfrin, Chiara; Torboli, Valentina; Giulianini, Piero Giulio; Sava, Gianni; Venier, Paola; Pallavicini, Alberto
We report the identification of a novel gene family (named MgCRP-I) encoding short secreted cysteine-rich peptides in the Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis. These peptides display a highly conserved pre-pro region and a hypervariable mature peptide comprising six invariant cysteine residues arranged in three intramolecular disulfide bridges. Although their cysteine pattern is similar to cysteines-rich neurotoxic peptides of distantly related protostomes such as cone snails and arachnids, the different organization of the disulfide bridges observed in synthetic peptides and phylogenetic analyses revealed MgCRP-I as a novel protein family. Genome- and transcriptome-wide searches for orthologous sequences in other bivalve species indicated the unique presence of this gene family in Mytilus spp. Like many antimicrobial peptides and neurotoxins, MgCRP-I peptides are produced as pre-propeptides, usually have a net positive charge and likely derive from similar evolutionary mechanisms, that is, gene duplication and positive selection within the mature peptide region; however, synthetic MgCRP-I peptides did not display significant toxicity in cultured mammalian cells, insecticidal, antimicrobial, or antifungal activities. The functional role of MgCRP-I peptides in mussel physiology still remains puzzling. PMID:26201648
Walker, Andrew A; Weisman, Sarah; Trueman, Holly E; Merritt, David J; Sutherland, Tara D
Glow-worms (larvae of dipteran genus Arachnocampa) are restricted to moist habitats where they capture flying prey using snares composed of highly extensible silk fibres and sticky mucus droplets. Little is known about the composition or structure of glow-worm snares, or the extent of possible convergence between glow-worm and arachnid capture silks. We characterised Arachnocampa richardsae silk and mucus using X-ray scattering, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and amino acid analysis. Silk but not mucus contained crystallites of the cross-β-sheet type, which occur in unrelated insect silks but have not been reported previously in fibres used for prey capture. Mucus proteins were rich in Gly (28.5%) and existed in predominantly a random coil structure, typical of many adhesive proteins. In contrast, the silk fibres were unusually rich in charged and polar residues, particularly Lys (18.1%), which we propose is related to their use in a highly hydrated state. Comparison of X-ray scattering, infrared spectroscopy and amino acid analysis data suggests that silk fibres contain a high fraction of disordered protein. We suggest that in the native hydrated state, silk fibres are capable of extension via deformation of both disordered regions and cross-β-sheet crystallites, and that high extensibility is an adaptation promoting successful prey capture. This study illustrates the rich variety of protein motifs that are available for recruitment into biopolymers, and how convergently evolved materials can nevertheless be based on fundamentally different protein structures.
Scudder, Samuel Hubbard
The present work is an extension to date of a bibliography published in 1882. It has, however, been altered in a few details, and, besides being fuller, differs from that in being a classed list, the works and essays which cover the entire field (which embraces not only insects proper, but also myriapods and arachnids) being placed first, followed by the more special memoirs grouped first by times, next by classes orders, etc., the classification employed in my Systematic Review of Fossil Insects, being used as a convenient basis. This will also form the basis of the Index to Known Fossil Insects, forming a later complementary bulletin. The occasion for the publication of both of these at this time is the completion of the first extended account of the American Tertiary insects given in Vol XIII of the Hayden series of geological reports, by which the numbers of the European and American insects bear for the first time some sort of proper relation to each other, at least in the lower groups. This makes an immediate "account of stock," to employ a commercial term, desirable.
Carrillo, R; Alarcón, R; Neira, M
The role of carabid beetles in reducing populations of phytophagous insects has been an elusive subject. A field experiment was established on a commercial wheat crop (cv. Otto) with an area of 4.5 ha in Valdivia, Chile, during the spring and summer of 1996-1997. The field had been under a prairie system for two years, before wheat sowing (fertilization and a pesticide had been applied during crop development). Samples were taken at approximately monthly intervals. Carabid beetles were sampled with a grid of pitfall traps and other insects were sampled with a vacuum insect net and soil cores. The genera of the carabids found are of neotropical origin. Exclusion by polythene barriers, together with removal of carabid beetles using traps, was an effective technique for controlling carabid populations in a commercial wheat crop. A reduction in the number of carabid beetles was associated with an increase in the number of springtails and arachnids, and a decrease of agromyzid adults. Phytophagous insects, such as homopterans and lepidopterous larvae, were not affected by carabid exclusion and removal. The action of carabid beetles on the arthropod fauna can be extremely complex, due to its predatory activity at multitrophic levels.
Battelle, Barbara-Anne; Ryan, Joseph F.; Kempler, Karen E.; Saraf, Spencer R.; Marten, Catherine E.; Warren, Wesley C.; Minx, Patrick J.; Montague, Michael J.; Green, Pamela J.; Schmidt, Skye A.; Fulton, Lucinda; Patel, Nipam H.; Protas, Meredith E.; Wilson, Richard K.; Porter, Megan L.
Horseshoe crabs are xiphosuran chelicerates, the sister group to arachnids. As such, they are important for understanding the most recent common ancestor of Euchelicerata and the evolution and diversification of Arthropoda. Limulus polyphemus is the most investigated of the four extant species of horseshoe crabs, and the structure and function of its visual system have long been a major focus of studies critical for understanding the evolution of visual systems in arthropods. Likewise, studies of genes encoding Limulus opsins, the protein component of the visual pigments, are critical for understanding opsin evolution and diversification among chelicerates, where knowledge of opsins is limited, and more broadly among arthropods. In the present study, we sequenced and assembled a high quality nuclear genomic sequence of L. polyphemus and used these data to annotate the full repertoire of Limulus opsins. We conducted a detailed phylogenetic analysis of Limulus opsins, including using gene structure and synteny information to identify relationships among different opsin classes. We used our phylogeny to identify significant genomic events that shaped opsin evolution and therefore the visual system of Limulus. We also describe the tissue expression patterns of the 18 opsins identified and show that transcripts encoding a number, including a peropsin, are present throughout the central nervous system. In addition to significantly extending our understanding of photosensitivity in Limulus and providing critical insight into the genomic evolution of horseshoe crab opsins, this work provides a valuable genomic resource for addressing myriad questions related to xiphosuran physiology and arthropod evolution. PMID:27189985
Lamsdell, James C.; Briggs, Derek E. G.; Liu, Huaibao P.; Witzke, Brian J.; McKay, Robert M.
Euchelicerates were a major component of Palaeozoic faunas, but their basal relationships are uncertain: it has been suggested that Xiphosura—xiphosurids (horseshoe crabs) and similar Palaeozoic forms, the synziphosurines—may not represent a natural group. Basal euchelicerates are rare in the fossil record, however, particularly during the initial Ordovician radiation of the group. Here, we describe Winneshiekia youngae gen. et sp. nov., a euchelicerate from the Middle Ordovician (Darriwilian) Winneshiek Lagerstätte of Iowa, USA. Winneshiekia shares features with both xiphosurans (a large, semicircular carapace and ophthalmic ridges) and dekatriatan euchelicerates such as chasmataspidids and eurypterids (an opisthosoma of 13 tergites). Phylogenetic analysis resolves Winneshiekia at the base of Dekatriata, as sister taxon to a clade comprising chasmataspidids, eurypterids, arachnids, and Houia. Winneshiekia provides further support for the polyphyly of synziphosurines, traditionally considered the stem lineage to xiphosurid horseshoe crabs, and by extension the paraphyly of Xiphosura. The new taxon reveals the ground pattern of Dekatriata and provides evidence of character polarity in chasmataspidids and eurypterids. The Winneshiek Lagerstätte thus represents an important palaeontological window into early chelicerate evolution.
Rong, Mingqiang; Liu, Jiangxin; Zhang, Meilin; Wang, Gan; Zhao, Gang; Wang, Guodong; Zhang, Yaping; Hu, Kaifeng; Lai, Ren
Members of arachnida, such as spiders and scorpions, commonly produce venom with specialized venom glands, paralyzing their prey with neurotoxins that specifically target ion channels. Two well-studied motifs, the disulfide-directed hairpin (DDH) and the inhibitor cystine knot motif (ICK), are both found in scorpion and spider toxins. As arachnids, ticks inject a neurotoxin-containing cocktail from their salivary glands into the host to acquire a blood meal, but peptide toxins acting on ion channels have not been observed in ticks. Here, a new neurotoxin (ISTX-I) that acts on sodium channels was identified from the hard tick Ixodes scapularis and characterized. ISTX-I exhibits a potent inhibitory function with an IC50 of 1.6 μM for sodium channel Nav1.7 but not other sodium channel subtypes. ISTX-I adopts a novel structural fold and is distinct from the canonical ICK motif. Analysis of the ISTX-I, DDH and ICK motifs reveals that the new ISTX-I motif might be an intermediate scaffold between DDH and ICK, and ISTX-I is a clue to the evolutionary link between the DDH and ICK motifs. These results provide a glimpse into the convergent evolution of neurotoxins from predatory and blood-sucking arthropods. PMID:27407029
Cui, Ying-Jun; Yu, Lin-Lin; Xu, Hai-Jun; Dong, Ke; Zhang, Chuan-Xi
DSC1 and BSC1 are two founding members of a novel family of invertebrate voltage-gated cation channels with close structural and evolutionary relationships to voltage-gated sodium and calcium channels. In this study, we searched the published genome sequences for DSC1 orthologs. DSC1 orthologs were found in all 48 insect species, and in other invertebrate species belonging to phyla Mollusca, Cnidaria, Hemichordata and Echinodermata. However, DSC1 orthologs were not found in four arachnid species, Ixodes scapularis, Rhipicephalus microplus, Tetranychus urticae and Varroa destructor, two species in Annelida or any vertebrate species. We then cloned and sequenced NlSC1 and BmSC1 full-length cDNAs from the brown planthopper (Nilaparvata lugens) and the silkworm (Bombyx mori), respectively. NlSC1 and BmSC1 share about 50% identity with DSC1, and the expression of NlSC1 and BmSC1 transcripts was most abundant in the head and antenna in adults. All DSC1 orthologs contain a unique and conserved DEEA motif, instead of the EEEE or EEDD motif in classical calcium channels or the DEKA motif in sodium channels. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that DSC1 and its orthologs form a separate group distinct from the classical voltage-gated sodium and calcium channels and constitute a unique family of cation channels. The DSC1/BSC1-family channels could be potential targets of new and safe insecticides for pest control.
Starkey, P M; Barrett, A J
Plasma or serum samples from a large number of vertebrate species were screened for the presence of a papain-binding protein resembling human alph a 2-macroglobulin (alpha 2M). The screening method depended on the unique property of alpha 2M of binding proteinases in such a way that the enzyme retains partial activity against low-molecular-weight substrates. A papain-binding protein was detected in serum from members of all the major vertebrate taxa. In mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians the protein had an Mr similar to that of human alpha 2M (725 000), but in fish, including dipnoans, actinopterygians, elasmobranchs and cyclostomes, the papain-binding protein was of Mr about 360 000. Of the invertebrate species tested, all of which were arthropods, two were negative, but the horseshoe crab, an arachnid, did possess a papain-binding protein, although this was heterogeneous in electrophoresis and differed from alpha 2M in resisting inactivation by methylamine. From the results, and a detailed study of the properties of the fish papain-binding protein described in an accompanying paper [Starkey, Fletcher & Barrett (1982) Biochem. J. 205, 97-104], it seems that alpha 2M first appeared in an ancestor of all modern vertebrates as a protein of Mr 360 000 and that the larger macroglobulin (Mr 725 000) first appeared in an ancestor of the tetrapods. Images Fig. 1. PMID:6181778
Barrett, Russell L.
Background Sedges (Cyperaceae) form an important ecological component of many ecosystems around the world. Sword and rapier sedges (genus Lepidosperma) are common and widespread components of the southern Australian and New Zealand floras, also occurring in New Caledonia, West Papua, Borneo, Malaysia and southern China. Sedge ecology is seldom studied and no comprehensive review of sedge ecology exists. Lepidosperma is unusual in the Cyperaceae with the majority of species occurring in dryland habitats. Scope Extensive review of ecological literature and field observations shows Lepidosperma species to be important components of many ecosystems, often dominating understorey and sedge-rich communities. For the first time, a detailed ecological review of a Cyperaceae genus is presented. Conclusions Lepidosperma species are long-lived perennials with significant abundance and persistence in the landscape. Speciation patterns in the genus are of considerable interest due to complex biogeographical patterns and a high degree of habitat specificity. Potential benefits exist for medicinal products identified from several Lepidosperma species. Over 178 organisms, including 26 mammals, 42 birds, six reptiles, five amphibians, eight arachnids, 75 insects, three crustaceans and 13 fungi, are found to be dependent on, or making use of, Lepidosperma species. A significant relationship exists between Lepidosperma species and the moth genus Elachista. Implications for the conservation and ecology of both sedges and associated species are discussed. PMID:23378523
Legg, David A; Sutton, Mark D; Edgecombe, Gregory D; Caron, Jean-Bernard
Extant arthropods are diverse and ubiquitous, forming a major constituent of most modern ecosystems. Evidence from early Palaeozoic Konservat Lagerstätten indicates that this has been the case since the Cambrian. Despite this, the details of arthropod origins remain obscure, although most hypotheses regard the first arthropods as benthic predators or scavengers such as the fuxianhuiids or megacheirans ('great-appendage' arthropods). Here, we describe a new arthropod from the Tulip Beds locality of the Burgess Shale Formation (Cambrian, series 3, stage 5) that possesses a weakly sclerotized thorax with filamentous appendages, encased in a bivalved carapace, and a strongly sclerotized, elongate abdomen and telson. A cladistic analysis resolved this taxon as the basal-most member of a paraphyletic grade of nekto-benthic forms with bivalved carapaces. This grade occurs at the base of Arthropoda (panarthropods with arthropodized trunk limbs) and suggests that arthrodization (sclerotization and jointing of the exoskeleton) evolved to facilitate swimming. Predatory and fully benthic habits evolved later in the euarthropod stem-lineage and are plesiomorphically retained in pycnogonids (sea spiders) and euchelicerates (horseshoe crabs and arachnids).
Marx, Michael Thomas; Guhmann, Patrick; Decker, Peter
Simple Summary This review summarizes adaptations and predispositions of different arthropod taxa (springtails, web spiders, millipedes and centipedes) to flood and drought conditions. The main focus sis directed to arthropod species, which are living in Middle European floodplain forests and wetlands, because of the fast change of flood and drought conditions in these habitats. Furthermore the effects of the predicted regional climate change like increasing aperiodic summer flooding and decreasing winter and spring floods are also discussed. Abstract Floodplain forests and wetlands are amongst the most diverse and species rich habitats on earth. Arthropods are a key group for the high diversity pattern of these landscapes, due to the fact that the change between flooding and drought causes in different life cycles and in a variety of adaptations in the different taxa. The floodplain forests and wetlands of Central Amazonia are well investigated and over the last 50 years many adaptations of several hexapod, myriapod and arachnid orders were described. In contrast to Amazonia the Middle European floodplains were less investigated concerning the adaptations of arthropods to flood and drought conditions. This review summarizes the adaptations and predispositions of springtails, web spiders, millipedes and centipedes to the changeable flood and drought conditions of Middle European floodplain forests and wetlands. Furthermore the impact of regional climate change predictions like increasing aperiodic summer floods and the decrease of typical winter and spring floods are discussed in this article. PMID:26487164
Fair, Jeanne M; Ryder, Thomas B; Loiselle, Bette A; Blake, John G; Larson, Toti E; Davis, Paul; Syme, James; Perkins, George B; Heikoop, Jeffrey M
We used stable isotope ratios to determine the metabolic routing fraction of carbon and nitrogen in feathers in addition to faecal analysis to estimate diet overlap of six sympatric species of manakins in the eastern lowland forest of Ecuador. Collectively, all species varied from-23.7 to-32.7 ‰ for δ(13)C, and from 6.0 to 9.9‰ for δ(15)N, with Machaeropterus regulus showing isotopic differences from the other species. We developed a mixing model that explicitly addresses the routing of carbon and nitrogen to feathers. Interestingly, these results suggest a higher proportion of nitrogen and carbon derived from insects than anticipated based on feeding observations and faecal analysis. A concentration-dependent mixing isotopic model was also used to look at dietary proportions. While larvae and arachnids had higher δ(15)N values, these two groups may also be preferred prey of manakins and may be more assimilated into tissues, leading to a potential overestimation of the contribution to diet. This study supports the finding that manakin species, previously thought be primarily frugivorous, contain a significant amount of arthropods in their diet.
Wiegmann, Daniel D.; Hebets, Eileen A.; Gronenberg, Wulfila; Graving, Jacob M.; Bingman, Verner P.
Navigation is an ideal behavioral model for the study of sensory system integration and the neural substrates associated with complex behavior. For this broader purpose, however, it may be profitable to develop new model systems that are both tractable and sufficiently complex to ensure that information derived from a single sensory modality and path integration are inadequate to locate a goal. Here, we discuss some recent discoveries related to navigation by amblypygids, nocturnal arachnids that inhabit the tropics and sub-tropics. Nocturnal displacement experiments under the cover of a tropical rainforest reveal that these animals possess navigational abilities that are reminiscent, albeit on a smaller spatial scale, of true-navigating vertebrates. Specialized legs, called antenniform legs, which possess hundreds of olfactory and tactile sensory hairs, and vision appear to be involved. These animals also have enormous mushroom bodies, higher-order brain regions that, in insects, integrate contextual cues and may be involved in spatial memory. In amblypygids, the complexity of a nocturnal rainforest may impose navigational challenges that favor the integration of information derived from multimodal cues. Moreover, the movement of these animals is easily studied in the laboratory and putative neural integration sites of sensory information can be manipulated. Thus, amblypygids could serve as model organisms for the discovery of neural substrates associated with a unique and potentially sophisticated navigational capability. The diversity of habitats in which amblypygids are found also offers an opportunity for comparative studies of sensory integration and ecological selection pressures on navigation mechanisms. PMID:27014008
Candido-Ferreira, Ivan Lavander; Kronenberger, Thales; Sayegh, Raphael Santa Rosa; Batista, Isabel de Fátima Correia; da Silva Junior, Pedro Ismael
The ubiquitin-proteasome pathway (UPP) is a hallmark of the eukaryotic cell. In jawed vertebrates, it has been co-opted by the adaptive immune system, where proteasomal degradation produces endogenous peptides for major histocompatibility complex class I antigen presentation. However, proteolytic products are also necessary for the phylogenetically widespread innate immune system, as they often play a role as host defense peptides (HDPs), pivotal effectors against pathogens. Here, we report the identification of the arachnid HDP oligoventin, which shares homology to a core member of the UPP, E3 ubiquitin ligases. Oligoventin has broad antimicrobial activity and shows strong synergy with lysozymes. Using computational and phylogenetic approaches, we show high conservation of the oligoventin signature in HECT E3s. In silico simulation of HECT E3s self-proteolysis provides evidence that HDPs can be generated by fine-tuned 26S proteasomal degradation, and therefore are consistent with the hypothesis that oligoventin is a cryptic peptide released by the proteolytic processing of an Nedd4 E3 precursor protein. Finally, we compare the production of HDPs and endogenous antigens from orthologous HECT E3s by proteasomal degradation as a means of analyzing the UPP coupling to metazoan immunity. Our results highlight the functional plasticity of the UPP in innate and adaptive immune systems as a possibly recurrent mechanism to generate functionally diverse peptides. PMID:28119686
Daam, Michiel A; Leitão, Sara; Cerejeira, Maria José; Paulo Sousa, J
The sole routine testing of the standard earthworm Eisenia fetida for the terrestrial risk assessment of pesticides has been under much debate since other soil invertebrates may be more sensitive than this standard test species. However, the very low availability of laboratory toxicity data for taxa other than E. fetida has greatly hampered sensitivity comparisons. In the present study, the relative tolerance (T(rel)) approach was used to enable comparing toxicity thresholds obtained from the US-EPA ECOTOX database, for main terrestrial taxonomic groups and pesticidal types of action (insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and other) separately. Analyses confirmed previously reported lower and higher sensitivity of collembolans to fungicides and insecticides, respectively. However, various other discrepancies in susceptibility relative to E. fetida were encountered as indicated by species sensitivity distributions and/or calculated 95% confidence intervals of T(rel) values. Arachnids and isopods were found to be more sensitive to insecticides, and nematodes to fungicides, as compared to E. fetida. Implications of study findings for the terrestrial risk assessment of pesticides are discussed.
Lobo, Daniel; Feldman, Erica B.; Shah, Michelle; Malone, Taylor J.; Levin, Michael
Summary: The ability of certain organisms to completely regenerate lost limbs is a fascinating process, far from solved. Despite the extraordinary published efforts during the past centuries of scientists performing amputations, transplantations and molecular experiments, no mechanistic model exists yet that can completely explain patterning during the limb regeneration process. The lack of a centralized repository to enable the efficient mining of this huge dataset is hindering the discovery of comprehensive models of limb regeneration. Here, we introduce Limbform (Limb formalization), a centralized database of published limb regeneration experiments. In contrast to natural language or text-based ontologies, Limbform is based on a functional ontology using mathematical graphs to represent unambiguously limb phenotypes and manipulation procedures. The centralized database currently contains >800 published limb regeneration experiments comprising many model organisms, including salamanders, frogs, insects, crustaceans and arachnids. The database represents an extraordinary resource for mining the existing knowledge of functional data in this field; furthermore, its mathematical nature based on a functional ontology will pave the way for artificial intelligence tools applied to the discovery of the sought-after comprehensive limb regeneration models. Availability and implementaion: The Limbform database is freely available at http://limbform.daniel-lobo.com. Contact: email@example.com PMID:25170026
Davies, Thomas W; Bennie, Jonathan; Inger, Richard; Ibarra, Natalie Hempel; Gaston, Kevin J
Technological developments in municipal lighting are altering the spectral characteristics of artificially lit habitats. Little is yet known of the biological consequences of such changes, although a variety of animal behaviours are dependent on detecting the spectral signature of light reflected from objects. Using previously published wavelengths of peak visual pigment absorbance, we compared how four alternative street lamp technologies affect the visual abilities of 213 species of arachnid, insect, bird, reptile and mammal by producing different wavelength ranges of light to which they are visually sensitive. The proportion of the visually detectable region of the light spectrum emitted by each lamp was compared to provide an indication of how different technologies are likely to facilitate visually guided behaviours such as detecting objects in the environment. Compared to narrow spectrum lamps, broad spectrum technologies enable animals to detect objects that reflect light over more of the spectrum to which they are sensitive and, importantly, create greater disparities in this ability between major taxonomic groups. The introduction of broad spectrum street lamps could therefore alter the balance of species interactions in the artificially lit environment. PMID:23505141
Buzatto, Bruno A; Machado, Glauco
Strong sexual selection may lead small males or males in poor condition to adopt alternative reproductive tactics (ARTs) as a way to avoid the risk of being completely excluded from the mating pool. ARTs, sometimes accompanying morphological dimorphism among males, are taxonomically widespread, especially common in arthropods. Here we review the current knowledge on ARTs and male dimorphism in a diverse but relatively overlooked group of arachnids, the order Opiliones, popularly known as harvestmen or daddy long-legs. We begin with a summary of harvestman mating systems, followed by a review of the two lines of evidence for the presence of ARTs in the group: (1) morphological data from natural populations and museum collections; and (2) behavioral information from field studies. Despite receiving less attention than spiders, scorpions and insects, our review shows that harvestmen are an exciting group of organisms that are potentially great models for sexual selection studies focused on ARTs. We also suggest that investigating the proximate mechanisms underlying male dimorphism in the order would be especially important. New research on ARTs and male dimorphism will have implications for our understanding of the evolution of mating systems, sperm competition, and polyandry. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Neotropical Behaviour.
Hilbrant, Maarten; Damen, Wim G M
Silk production in spiders is considered a key innovation, and to have been vital for the diversification of the clade. The evolutionary origin of the organs involved in spider silk production, however, and in particular of the silk glands, is poorly understood. Homologies have been proposed between these and other glands found in arachnids, but lacking knowledge of the embryonic development of spider silk glands hampers an evaluation of hypotheses. This study focuses on the embryonic origin of the largest silk glands of the spider Cupiennius salei, the major and minor ampullate glands. We show how the ampullate glands originate from ectodermal invaginations on the embryonic spinneret limb buds, in relation to morphogenesis of these buds. Moreover, we visualize the subsequent growth of the ampullate glands in sections of the early postembryonic stages. The invaginations are shown to correlate with expression of the proneural gene CsASH2, which is remarkable since it has been proposed that spider silk glands and their nozzles originate from sensory bristles. Hence, by confirming the ectodermal origin of spider silk glands, and by describing the (post-)embryonic morphogenesis of the ampullate glands, this work provides a starting point for further investigating into the genetic program that underlies their development.
Santer, Roger D; Hebets, Eileen A
Arthropod filiform hairs respond to air particle movements and are among the most sensitive animal sensory organs. In many species, they are tuned to detect predators or prey and trigger escape or prey capture behaviours. Here we show for the first time that these hairs also receive intraspecific near-field sound signals in an arachnid. During agonistic encounters, whip spiders (Arachnida, Amblypygi) perform antenniform leg vibration (ALV) displays that have significantly longer duration in contest winners than losers. During an ALV display: (i) the vibrating antenniform leg of the displaying whip spider is positioned close to the trichobothria (filiform hairs) on its opponent's walking legs, (ii) the vibrating antenniform leg can excite these trichobothria via air movements and without direct contact, (iii) the antenniform leg of the displaying whip spider vibrates at a frequency that causes particularly strong, sustained excitation and little adaptation in the trichobothria, and (iv) the duration of an ALV display can be extracted from the response of a trichobothrium. Since filiform hairs are widespread among arthropods, communication via such hairs could be extremely prevalent.
Molecular characterization and evolutionary insights into potential sex-determination genes in the western orchard predatory mite Metaseiulus occidentalis (Chelicerata: Arachnida: Acari: Phytoseiidae).
Pomerantz, Aaron F; Hoy, Marjorie A; Kawahara, Akito Y
Little is known about the process of sex determination at the molecular level in species belonging to the subclass Acari, a taxon of arachnids that contains mites and ticks. The recent sequencing of the transcriptome and genome of the western orchard predatory mite Metaseiulus occidentalis allows investigation of molecular mechanisms underlying the biological processes of sex determination in this predator of phytophagous pest mites. We identified four doublesex-and-mab-3-related transcription factor (dmrt) genes, one transformer-2 gene, one intersex gene, and two fruitless-like genes in M. occidentalis. Phylogenetic analyses were conducted to infer the molecular relationships to sequences from species of arthropods, including insects, crustaceans, acarines, and a centipede, using available genomic data. Comparative analyses revealed high sequence identity within functional domains and confirmed that the architecture for certain sex-determination genes is conserved in arthropods. This study provides a framework for identifying potential target genes that could be implicated in the process of sex determination in M. occidentalis and provides insight into the conservation and change of the molecular components of sex determination in arthropods.
Xu, Xin; Liu, Fengxiang; Cheng, Ren-Chung; Chen, Jian; Xu, Xiang; Zhang, Zhisheng; Ono, Hirotsugu; Pham, Dinh Sac; Norma-Rashid, Y.; Arnedo, Miquel A.; Kuntner, Matjaž; Li, Daiqin
Living fossils are lineages that have retained plesiomorphic traits through long time periods. It is expected that such lineages have both originated and diversified long ago. Such expectations have recently been challenged in some textbook examples of living fossils, notably in extant cycads and coelacanths. Using a phylogenetic approach, we tested the patterns of the origin and diversification of liphistiid spiders, a clade of spiders considered to be living fossils due to their retention of arachnid plesiomorphies and their exclusive grouping in Mesothelae, an ancient clade sister to all modern spiders. Facilitated by original sampling throughout their Asian range, we here provide the phylogenetic framework necessary for reconstructing liphistiid biogeographic history. All phylogenetic analyses support the monophyly of Liphistiidae and of eight genera. As the fossil evidence supports a Carboniferous Euramerican origin of Mesothelae, our dating analyses postulate a long eastward over-land dispersal towards the Asian origin of Liphistiidae during the Palaeogene (39–58 Ma). Contrary to expectations, diversification within extant liphistiid genera is relatively recent, in the Neogene and Late Palaeogene (4–24 Ma). While no over-water dispersal events are needed to explain their evolutionary history, the history of liphistiid spiders has the potential to play prominently in vicariant biogeographic studies. PMID:25948684
Battelle, Barbara-Anne; Ryan, Joseph F; Kempler, Karen E; Saraf, Spencer R; Marten, Catherine E; Warren, Wesley C; Minx, Patrick J; Montague, Michael J; Green, Pamela J; Schmidt, Skye A; Fulton, Lucinda; Patel, Nipam H; Protas, Meredith E; Wilson, Richard K; Porter, Megan L
Horseshoe crabs are xiphosuran chelicerates, the sister group to arachnids. As such, they are important for understanding the most recent common ancestor of Euchelicerata and the evolution and diversification of Arthropoda. Limulus polyphemus is the most investigated of the four extant species of horseshoe crabs, and the structure and function of its visual system have long been a major focus of studies critical for understanding the evolution of visual systems in arthropods. Likewise, studies of genes encoding Limulus opsins, the protein component of the visual pigments, are critical for understanding opsin evolution and diversification among chelicerates, where knowledge of opsins is limited, and more broadly among arthropods. In the present study, we sequenced and assembled a high quality nuclear genomic sequence of L. polyphemus and used these data to annotate the full repertoire of Limulus opsins. We conducted a detailed phylogenetic analysis of Limulus opsins, including using gene structure and synteny information to identify relationships among different opsin classes. We used our phylogeny to identify significant genomic events that shaped opsin evolution and therefore the visual system of Limulus We also describe the tissue expression patterns of the 18 opsins identified and show that transcripts encoding a number, including a peropsin, are present throughout the central nervous system. In addition to significantly extending our understanding of photosensitivity in Limulus and providing critical insight into the genomic evolution of horseshoe crab opsins, this work provides a valuable genomic resource for addressing myriad questions related to xiphosuran physiology and arthropod evolution.
Legg, David A.
The morphology of the arthropod Sanctacaris uncata, from the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale of Canada, is reinterpreted based on a restudy of previously described material. Although originally considered a chelicerate-like arthropod, these affinities were dismissed based primarily on interpretations of the anterior appendages and hypotheses which considered the megacheirans (`great-appendage' arthropods) as putative ancestors of chelicerates. The similarities between megacheirans and chelicerates appear to be overstated however, and this study instead reaffirms the identity of putative chelicerate feature in S. uncata and similar arthropods such as Sidneyia and Emeraldella, both also from the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale. Newly interpreted features, including the presence of pediform exites, multi-partite trunk exopods, and a trunk differentiated into an anterior limb-bearing area and a differentiated posterior limbless abdomen, were coded into an extensive phylogenetic data set of fossil and recent arthropods. In all analyses, Sanctacaris resolved as the basal-most member of total-group Euchelicerata (the least inclusive group including horseshoe crabs and arachnids but not pycnogonids), thus making it the oldest chelicerate in the fossil record. The vicissicaudates (including Sidneyia, Emeraldella, aglaspidids, and cheloniellids—all of which have previously been allied to chelicerates) resolved as sister-taxon to crown-group Chelicerata. This topology indicates that many purported chelicerate features, such as lamellar gills, and a differentiated posterior abdomen evolved sequentially in the chelicerate stem-lineage.
Legg, David A
The morphology of the arthropod Sanctacaris uncata, from the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale of Canada, is reinterpreted based on a restudy of previously described material. Although originally considered a chelicerate-like arthropod, these affinities were dismissed based primarily on interpretations of the anterior appendages and hypotheses which considered the megacheirans ('great-appendage' arthropods) as putative ancestors of chelicerates. The similarities between megacheirans and chelicerates appear to be overstated however, and this study instead reaffirms the identity of putative chelicerate feature in S. uncata and similar arthropods such as Sidneyia and Emeraldella, both also from the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale. Newly interpreted features, including the presence of pediform exites, multi-partite trunk exopods, and a trunk differentiated into an anterior limb-bearing area and a differentiated posterior limbless abdomen, were coded into an extensive phylogenetic data set of fossil and recent arthropods. In all analyses, Sanctacaris resolved as the basal-most member of total-group Euchelicerata (the least inclusive group including horseshoe crabs and arachnids but not pycnogonids), thus making it the oldest chelicerate in the fossil record. The vicissicaudates (including Sidneyia, Emeraldella, aglaspidids, and cheloniellids--all of which have previously been allied to chelicerates) resolved as sister-taxon to crown-group Chelicerata. This topology indicates that many purported chelicerate features, such as lamellar gills, and a differentiated posterior abdomen evolved sequentially in the chelicerate stem-lineage.
Sharma, Prashant P.; Tourinho, Ana Lúcia
Opiliones are iconic arachnids with a Palaeozoic origin and a diversity that reflects ancient biogeographic patterns dating back at least to the times of Pangea. Owing to interest in harvestman diversity, evolution and biogeography, their relationships have been thoroughly studied using morphology and PCR-based Sanger approaches to infer their systematic relationships. More recently, two studies utilized transcriptomics-based phylogenomics to explore their basal relationships and diversification, but sampling was limiting for understanding deep evolutionary patterns, as they lacked good taxon representation at the family level. Here, we analysed a set of the 14 existing transcriptomes with 40 additional ones generated for this study, representing approximately 80% of the extant familial diversity in Opiliones. Our phylogenetic analyses, including a set of data matrices with different gene occupancy and evolutionary rates, and using a multitude of methods correcting for a diversity of factors affecting phylogenomic data matrices, provide a robust and stable Opiliones tree of life, where most families and higher taxa are precisely placed. Our dating analyses using alternative calibration points, methods and analytical parameters provide well-resolved old divergences, consistent with ancient regionalization in Pangea in some groups, and Pangean vicariance in others. The integration of state-of-the-art molecular techniques and analyses, together with the broadest taxonomic sampling to date presented in a phylogenomic study of harvestmen, provide new insights into harvestmen interrelationships, as well as an overview of the general biogeographic patterns of this ancient arthropod group. PMID:28228511
Sharma, Prashant P; Schwager, Evelyn E; Extavour, Cassandra G; Wheeler, Ward C
The evolutionary success of the largest animal phylum, Arthropoda, has been attributed to tagmatization, the coordinated evolution of adjacent metameres to form morphologically and functionally distinct segmental regions called tagmata. Specification of regional identity is regulated by the Hox genes, of which 10 are inferred to be present in the ancestor of arthropods. With six different posterior segmental identities divided into two tagmata, the bauplan of scorpions is the most heteronomous within Chelicerata. Expression domains of the anterior eight Hox genes are conserved in previously surveyed chelicerates, but it is unknown how Hox genes regionalize the three tagmata of scorpions. Here, we show that the scorpion Centruroides sculpturatus has two paralogues of all Hox genes except Hox3, suggesting cluster and/or whole genome duplication in this arachnid order. Embryonic anterior expression domain boundaries of each of the last four pairs of Hox genes (two paralogues each of Antp, Ubx, abd-A and Abd-B) are unique and distinguish segmental groups, such as pectines, book lungs and the characteristic tail, while maintaining spatial collinearity. These distinct expression domains suggest neofunctionalization of Hox gene paralogues subsequent to duplication. Our data reconcile previous understanding of Hox gene function across arthropods with the extreme heteronomy of scorpions.
Di, Zhiyong; Yu, Yao; Wu, Yingliang; Hao, Pei; He, Yawen; Zhao, Huabin; Li, Yixue; Zhao, Guoping; Li, Xuan; Li, Wenxin; Cao, Zhijian
Homeobox genes belong to a large gene group, which encodes the famous DNA-binding homeodomain that plays a key role in development and cellular differentiation during embryogenesis in animals. Here, one hundred forty-nine homeobox genes were identified from the Asian scorpion, Mesobuthus martensii (Chelicerata: Arachnida: Scorpiones: Buthidae) based on our newly assembled genome sequence with approximately 248 × coverage. The identified homeobox genes were categorized into eight classes including 82 families: 67 ANTP class genes, 33 PRD genes, 11 LIM genes, five POU genes, six SINE genes, 14 TALE genes, five CUT genes, two ZF genes and six unclassified genes. Transcriptome data confirmed that more than half of the genes were expressed in adults. The homeobox gene diversity of the eight classes is similar to the previously analyzed Mandibulata arthropods. Interestingly, it is hypothesized that the scorpion M. martensii may have two Hox clusters. The first complete genome-wide analysis of homeobox genes in Chelicerata not only reveals the repertoire of scorpion, arachnid and chelicerate homeobox genes, but also shows some insights into the evolution of arthropod homeobox genes.
Lamsdell, James C; Briggs, Derek E G; Liu, Huaibao P; Witzke, Brian J; McKay, Robert M
Euchelicerates were a major component of Palaeozoic faunas, but their basal relationships are uncertain: it has been suggested that Xiphosura-xiphosurids (horseshoe crabs) and similar Palaeozoic forms, the synziphosurines-may not represent a natural group. Basal euchelicerates are rare in the fossil record, however, particularly during the initial Ordovician radiation of the group. Here, we describe Winneshiekia youngae gen. et sp. nov., a euchelicerate from the Middle Ordovician (Darriwilian) Winneshiek Lagerstätte of Iowa, USA. Winneshiekia shares features with both xiphosurans (a large, semicircular carapace and ophthalmic ridges) and dekatriatan euchelicerates such as chasmataspidids and eurypterids (an opisthosoma of 13 tergites). Phylogenetic analysis resolves Winneshiekia at the base of Dekatriata, as sister taxon to a clade comprising chasmataspidids, eurypterids, arachnids, and Houia. Winneshiekia provides further support for the polyphyly of synziphosurines, traditionally considered the stem lineage to xiphosurid horseshoe crabs, and by extension the paraphyly of Xiphosura. The new taxon reveals the ground pattern of Dekatriata and provides evidence of character polarity in chasmataspidids and eurypterids. The Winneshiek Lagerstätte thus represents an important palaeontological window into early chelicerate evolution.
Corley, Sean W.; Piper, Emily K.; Jonsson, Nicholas N.
We describe here a rapid and efficient method for the targeted isolation of specific members of gene families without the need for cloning. Using this strategy we isolated full length cDNAs for eight putative G-protein coupled neurotransmitter receptors (GPCnR) from the cattle tick Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus. Gene specific degenerate primers were designed using aligned amino acid sequences of similar receptor types from several insect and arachnid species. These primers were used to amplify and sequence a section of the target gene. Rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) PCR was used to generate full length cDNA sequences. Phylogenetic analysis placed 7 of these sequences into Class A G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR) (Rm_α2AOR, Rm_β2AOR, Rm_Dop1R, Rm_Dop2R, Rm_INDR, Rm_5-HT7R and Rm_mAchR), and one into Class C GPCR (Rm_GABABR). Of the 7 Class A sequences, only Rm_mAchR is not a member of the biogenic amine receptor family. The isolation of these putative receptor sequences provides an opportunity to gain an understanding of acaricide resistance mechanisms such as amitraz resistance and might suggest possibilities for the development of new acaricides. PMID:22403662
Xu, Xin; Liu, Fengxiang; Cheng, Ren-Chung; Chen, Jian; Xu, Xiang; Zhang, Zhisheng; Ono, Hirotsugu; Pham, Dinh Sac; Norma-Rashid, Y; Arnedo, Miquel A; Kuntner, Matjaž; Li, Daiqin
Living fossils are lineages that have retained plesiomorphic traits through long time periods. It is expected that such lineages have both originated and diversified long ago. Such expectations have recently been challenged in some textbook examples of living fossils, notably in extant cycads and coelacanths. Using a phylogenetic approach, we tested the patterns of the origin and diversification of liphistiid spiders, a clade of spiders considered to be living fossils due to their retention of arachnid plesiomorphies and their exclusive grouping in Mesothelae, an ancient clade sister to all modern spiders. Facilitated by original sampling throughout their Asian range, we here provide the phylogenetic framework necessary for reconstructing liphistiid biogeographic history. All phylogenetic analyses support the monophyly of Liphistiidae and of eight genera. As the fossil evidence supports a Carboniferous Euramerican origin of Mesothelae, our dating analyses postulate a long eastward over-land dispersal towards the Asian origin of Liphistiidae during the Palaeogene (39-58 Ma). Contrary to expectations, diversification within extant liphistiid genera is relatively recent, in the Neogene and Late Palaeogene (4-24 Ma). While no over-water dispersal events are needed to explain their evolutionary history, the history of liphistiid spiders has the potential to play prominently in vicariant biogeographic studies.
Starrett, James; Hedin, Marshal; Ayoub, Nadia; Hayashi, Cheryl Y
Hemocyanins are multimeric copper-containing hemolymph proteins involved in oxygen binding and transport in all major arthropod lineages. Most arachnids have seven primary subunits (encoded by paralogous genes a-g), which combine to form a 24-mer (4×6) quaternary structure. Within some spider lineages, however, hemocyanin evolution has been a dynamic process with extensive paralog duplication and loss. We have obtained hemocyanin gene sequences from numerous representatives of the spider infraorders Mygalomorphae and Araneomorphae in order to infer the evolution of the hemocyanin gene family and estimate spider relationships using these conserved loci. Our hemocyanin gene tree is largely consistent with the previous hypotheses of paralog relationships based on immunological studies, but reveals some discrepancies in which paralog types have been lost or duplicated in specific spider lineages. Analyses of concatenated hemocyanin sequences resolved deep nodes in the spider phylogeny and recovered a number of clades that are supported by other molecular studies, particularly for mygalomorph taxa. The concatenated data set is also used to estimate dates of higher-level spider divergences and suggests that the diversification of extant mygalomorphs preceded that of extant araneomorphs. Spiders are diverse in behavior and respiratory morphology, and our results are beneficial for comparative analyses of spider respiration. Lastly, the conserved hemocyanin sequences allow for the inference of spider relationships and ancient divergence dates.
Moore, Sara; Smyth, W Franklin; Gault, Victor A; O'Kane, Edmund; McClean, Stephen
Arachnid venoms present a diverse and complex matrix for investigation, with their latent potential for innovative drug and pesticide design largely unrealised. The characterisation and quantification of selected low molecular mass compounds isolated from the crude venom of the Cobalt blue tarantula (Haplopelma lividum) were the objectives of this study. Fractionation of the crude venom was performed using reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography, with compound identification using both electrospray ionisation ion trap mass spectrometry and quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Four compounds were identified, and quantification on a percentage dry weight basis was achieved by liquid chromatography/electrospray ionisation tandem mass spectrometry based on the formation of their corresponding product ions. Of these the most abundant component was glutamic acid, present at a level of 0.97%. Histamine and adenosine were detected at 0.14% and 0.10% dry weight, respectively, with the polyamine spermine noted in trace amounts at 0.002%. The limits of detection and quantification were established for each of the identified components. The fragmentation profile for histamine has also been proposed.
Background Few studies on eurypterids have taken into account morphological changes that occur throughout postembryonic development. Here two species of eurypterid are described from the Pragian Beartooth Butte Formation of Cottonwood Canyon in Wyoming and included in a phylogenetic analysis. Both species comprise individuals from a number of instars, and this allows for changes that occur throughout their ontogeny to be documented, and how ontogenetically variable characters can influence phylogenetic analysis to be tested. Results The two species of eurypterid are described as Jaekelopterus howelli (Kjellesvig-Waering and Størmer, 1952) and Strobilopterus proteus sp. nov. Phylogenetic analysis places them within the Pterygotidae and Strobilopteridae respectively, both families within the Eurypterina. Jaekelopterus howelli shows positive allometry of the cheliceral denticles throughout ontogeny, while a number of characteristics including prosomal appendage length, carapace shape, lateral eye position, and relative breadth all vary during the growth of Strobilopterus proteus. Conclusions The ontogeny of Strobilopterus proteus shares much in common with that of modern xiphosurans, however certain characteristics including apparent true direct development suggest a closer affinity to arachnids. The ontogenetic development of the genital appendage also supports the hypothesis that the structure is homologous to the endopods of the trunk limbs of other arthropods. Including earlier instars in the phylogenetic analysis is shown to destabilise the retrieved topology. Therefore, coding juveniles as individual taxa in an analysis is shown to be actively detrimental and alternative ways of coding ontogenetic data into phylogenetic analyses should be explored. PMID:23663507
The phylum Arthropoda includes arachnids and insects. Although their bites typically cause only local reactions, some species are venomous or transmit disease. The two medically important spiders in the United States are widow spiders (Latrodectus), the bite of which causes intense muscle spasms, and the brown recluse (Loxosceles), which may cause skin necrosis. Widow bites usually respond to narcotics, benzodiazepines, or, when necessary, antivenom. Most recluse bites resolve uneventfully without aggressive therapy and require only wound care and minor debridement. Tick bites can transmit diseases only after prolonged attachment to the host. Treatment of clothing with permethrin and proper tick removal greatly reduce the risk of infection. Ticks of medical importance in the United States include the black-legged tick, the Lone Star tick, and the American dog tick. The prophylactic use of a single dose of doxycycline for Lyme disease may be justified in high-risk areas of the country when an attached, engorged black-legged tick is removed. Bites from fleas, bedbugs, biting flies, and mosquitoes present as nonspecific pruritic pink papules, but the history and location of the bite can assist with diagnosis. Flea bites are usually on ankles, whereas mosquito bites are on exposed skin, and chigger bites tend to be along the sock and belt lines. Antihistamines are usually the only treatment required for insect bites; however, severe mosquito reactions (skeeter syndrome) may require prednisone. Applying insect repellent containing diethyltoluamide (DEET) 10% to 35% or picaridin 20% is the best method for preventing bites.
Gerdol, Marco; Puillandre, Nicolas; De Moro, Gianluca; Guarnaccia, Corrado; Lucafò, Marianna; Benincasa, Monica; Zlatev, Ventislav; Manfrin, Chiara; Torboli, Valentina; Giulianini, Piero Giulio; Sava, Gianni; Venier, Paola; Pallavicini, Alberto
We report the identification of a novel gene family (named MgCRP-I) encoding short secreted cysteine-rich peptides in the Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis. These peptides display a highly conserved pre-pro region and a hypervariable mature peptide comprising six invariant cysteine residues arranged in three intramolecular disulfide bridges. Although their cysteine pattern is similar to cysteines-rich neurotoxic peptides of distantly related protostomes such as cone snails and arachnids, the different organization of the disulfide bridges observed in synthetic peptides and phylogenetic analyses revealed MgCRP-I as a novel protein family. Genome- and transcriptome-wide searches for orthologous sequences in other bivalve species indicated the unique presence of this gene family in Mytilus spp. Like many antimicrobial peptides and neurotoxins, MgCRP-I peptides are produced as pre-propeptides, usually have a net positive charge and likely derive from similar evolutionary mechanisms, that is, gene duplication and positive selection within the mature peptide region; however, synthetic MgCRP-I peptides did not display significant toxicity in cultured mammalian cells, insecticidal, antimicrobial, or antifungal activities. The functional role of MgCRP-I peptides in mussel physiology still remains puzzling.
Hoy, Marjorie A; Waterhouse, Robert M; Wu, Ke; Estep, Alden S; Ioannidis, Panagiotis; Palmer, William J; Pomerantz, Aaron F; Simão, Felipe A; Thomas, Jainy; Jiggins, Francis M; Murphy, Terence D; Pritham, Ellen J; Robertson, Hugh M; Zdobnov, Evgeny M; Gibbs, Richard A; Richards, Stephen
Metaseiulus occidentalis is an eyeless phytoseiid predatory mite employed for the biological control of agricultural pests including spider mites. Despite appearances, these predator and prey mites are separated by some 400 Myr of evolution and radically different lifestyles. We present a 152-Mb draft assembly of the M. occidentalis genome: Larger than that of its favored prey, Tetranychus urticae, but considerably smaller than those of many other chelicerates, enabling an extremely contiguous and complete assembly to be built-the best arachnid to date. Aided by transcriptome data, genome annotation cataloged 18,338 protein-coding genes and identified large numbers of Helitron transposable elements. Comparisons with other arthropods revealed a particularly dynamic and turbulent genomic evolutionary history. Its genes exhibit elevated molecular evolution, with strikingly high numbers of intron gains and losses, in stark contrast to the deer tick Ixodes scapularis Uniquely among examined arthropods, this predatory mite's Hox genes are completely atomized, dispersed across the genome, and it encodes five copies of the normally single-copy RNA processing Dicer-2 gene. Examining gene families linked to characteristic biological traits of this tiny predator provides initial insights into processes of sex determination, development, immune defense, and how it detects, disables, and digests its prey. As the first reference genome for the Phytoseiidae, and for any species with the rare sex determination system of parahaploidy, the genome of the western orchard predatory mite improves genomic sampling of chelicerates and provides invaluable new resources for functional genomic analyses of this family of agriculturally important mites.
Effectiveness of two insect growth regulators against Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae) and Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and their impact on population densities of arthropod predators in cotton in Pakistan.
Gogi, Muhammad D; Sarfraz, Rana M; Dosdall, Lloyd M; Arif, Muhammad J; Keddie, Andrew B; Ashfaq, Muhammad
Field efficacies of two insect growth regulators (IGRs) at two recommended application rates, buprofezin at 370 and 555 g AI ha(-1) and lufenuron at 37 and 49 g AI ha(-1), were determined against the sweet potato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius), and the cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner), in experimental plots of cotton at the Directorate of Cotton Research, Faisalabad, Pakistan. Adverse effects of the IGRs on populations of associated arthropod predators, namely geocorids, chrysopids, coccinellids, formicids and arachnids, were also assessed. Both IGRs significantly reduced populations of B. tabaci at each application rate 24, 48 and 72 h after treatment, and higher doses were more effective than lower doses. Buprofezin was not effective against H. armigera at any tested dose for any time of treatment in any spray. Lufenuron applied at 37 and 49 g AI ha(-1) effectively suppressed H. armigera populations, resulting in significant reductions in crop damage. At lower doses, both IGRs appeared safe to predator populations, which did not differ significantly in IGR-treated versus untreated control plots. Population densities of formicids and coccinellids were significantly lower at high concentrations of both IGRs in treatment plots, possibly as a result of reduced prey availability. The potential role of buprofezin and lufenuron for control of B. tabaci and H. armigera in a spray programme and the likelihood of direct toxic effects of IGRs on predatory fauna of cotton are discussed.
Clarke, Thomas H; Garb, Jessica E; Hayashi, Cheryl Y; Arensburger, Peter; Ayoub, Nadia A
The evolution of specialized tissues with novel functions, such as the silk synthesizing glands in spiders, is likely an influential driver of adaptive success. Large-scale gene duplication events and subsequent paralog divergence are thought to be required for generating evolutionary novelty. Such an event has been proposed for spiders, but not tested. We de novo assembled transcriptomes from three cobweb weaving spider species. Based on phylogenetic analyses of gene families with representatives from each of the three species, we found numerous duplication events indicative of a whole genome or segmental duplication. We estimated the age of the gene duplications relative to several speciation events within spiders and arachnids and found that the duplications likely occurred after the divergence of scorpions (order Scorpionida) and spiders (order Araneae), but before the divergence of the spider suborders Mygalomorphae and Araneomorphae, near the evolutionary origin of spider silk glands. Transcripts that are expressed exclusively or primarily within black widow silk glands are more likely to have a paralog descended from the ancient duplication event and have elevated amino acid replacement rates compared with other transcripts. Thus, an ancient large-scale gene duplication event within the spider lineage was likely an important source of molecular novelty during the evolution of silk gland-specific expression. This duplication event may have provided genetic material for subsequent silk gland diversification in the true spiders (Araneomorphae).
von Reumont, Bjoern Marcus; Campbell, Lahcen I.; Jenner, Ronald A.
Venomics research is being revolutionized by the increased use of sensitive -omics techniques to identify venom toxins and their transcripts in both well studied and neglected venomous taxa. The study of neglected venomous taxa is necessary both for understanding the full diversity of venom systems that have evolved in the animal kingdom, and to robustly answer fundamental questions about the biology and evolution of venoms without the distorting effect that can result from the current bias introduced by some heavily studied taxa. In this review we draw the outlines of a roadmap into the diversity of poorly studied and understood venomous and putatively venomous invertebrates, which together represent tens of thousands of unique venoms. The main groups we discuss are crustaceans, flies, centipedes, non-spider and non-scorpion arachnids, annelids, molluscs, platyhelminths, nemerteans, and echinoderms. We review what is known about the morphology of the venom systems in these groups, the composition of their venoms, and the bioactivities of the venoms to provide researchers with an entry into a large and scattered literature. We conclude with a short discussion of some important methodological aspects that have come to light with the recent use of new -omics techniques in the study of venoms. PMID:25533518
von Reumont, Bjoern Marcus; Campbell, Lahcen I; Jenner, Ronald A
Venomics research is being revolutionized by the increased use of sensitive -omics techniques to identify venom toxins and their transcripts in both well studied and neglected venomous taxa. The study of neglected venomous taxa is necessary both for understanding the full diversity of venom systems that have evolved in the animal kingdom, and to robustly answer fundamental questions about the biology and evolution of venoms without the distorting effect that can result from the current bias introduced by some heavily studied taxa. In this review we draw the outlines of a roadmap into the diversity of poorly studied and understood venomous and putatively venomous invertebrates, which together represent tens of thousands of unique venoms. The main groups we discuss are crustaceans, flies, centipedes, non-spider and non-scorpion arachnids, annelids, molluscs, platyhelminths, nemerteans, and echinoderms. We review what is known about the morphology of the venom systems in these groups, the composition of their venoms, and the bioactivities of the venoms to provide researchers with an entry into a large and scattered literature. We conclude with a short discussion of some important methodological aspects that have come to light with the recent use of new -omics techniques in the study of venoms.
Strother, G. K.; Casella, A. J.
Absorption spectra of visual screening pigments obtained in vitro with a microspectrophotometer using frozen sections are given for the insects Musca domestica, Phormia regina, Libellula luctuosa, Apis mellifera (worker honeybee only), Drosophila melanogaster (wild type only) and the arachnids Lycosa baltimoriana and Lycosa miami. The spectral range covered is 260–700 nm for Lycosa and Drosophila and 310–700 nm for the remainder of the arthropods. A complete description of the instrumentation is given. For the flies, Phormia and Musca, light absorption by the yellow and red pigments is high from 310 to about 610 nm. This implies that for these insects there should be no wavelength shift in electroretinogram (ERG) results due to light leakage among neighboring ommatidia for this wavelength range. The same comment applies to Calliphora erythrocephala, which is known to have similar screening pigments. For some of the insects studied a close correspondence is noted between screening pigment absorption spectra and spectral sensitivity curves for individual photoreceptors, available in the literature. In some cases the screening pigment absorption spectra can be related to chemical extraction results, with the general observation that some of the in vitro absorption peaks are shifted to the red. The Lycosa, Apis, and Libellula dark red pigments absorb strongly over a wide spectral range and therefore prevent chemical identification. PMID:4623852
Smrž, Jaroslav; Kováč, Ĺubomír; Mikeš, Jaromír; Lukešová, Alena
To date, only morphological and anatomical descriptions of microwhip scorpions (Arachnida: Palpigradi) have been published. This very rare group is enigmatic not only in its relationships to other arachnids, but especially due to the fact that these animals dwell only underground (in caves, soil, and interstitial spaces). We observed the curious feeding habit of the microwhip scorpion Eukoenenia spelaea over the course of one year in Ardovská Cave, located in Slovakia's Karst region. We chose histology as our methodology in studying 17 specimens and based it upon Masson's triple staining, fluorescent light and confocal microscopy. Single-celled cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) were conspicuously predominant in the gut of all studied palpigrades. Digestibility of the consumed cyanobacteria was supported by the presence of guanine crystals, glycogen deposits and haemocytes inside the palpigrade body. Cyanobacteria, the oldest cellular organisms on Earth, are very resistant to severe conditions in caves, including even darkness. Therefore, the cyanobacteria are able to survive in dark caves as nearly heterotrophic organisms and are consumed by cave palpigrades. Such feeding habit is extraordinary within the almost wholly predacious orders of the class Arachnida, and particularly so due to the type of food observed. PMID:24146804
Planella, Laia; Heras, Sandra; Vera, Manuel; García-Marín, José Luís; Roldán, María Inés
The crucial step of most of the current genetic studies is the extraction of DNA with sufficient quantity and quality. Several genomic DNA isolation methods have been described to successfully obtain male DNA from shrimp species. However, all current protocols require invasive handling methods on males for DNA isolation. Using Aristeus antennatus as a model we tested a reliable non-invasive differential DNA extraction method to male DNA isolation from spermatophores attached to female thelycum. The present protocol provides high quality and quantity DNA for PCR amplification and male genotyping. This new approach could be useful to experimental shrimp culture to select sires with relevant genetic patterns for selective breeding programs. More important, it can be applied to identify the mating pairs and male structure in wild populations of species as A. antennatus where males are often difficult to capture. Our method could be also valuable to biological studies on other spermatophore-using species, such as myriapods, arachnids and insects. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Davis, Gregory K; D'Alessio, Joseph A; Patel, Nipam H
Several features of Pax3/7 gene expression are shared among distantly related insects, including pair-rule, segment polarity, and neural patterns. Recent data from arachnids imply that roles in segmentation and neurogenesis are likely to be played by Pax3/7 genes in all arthropods. To further investigate Pax3/7 genes in non-insect arthropods, we isolated two monoclonal antibodies that recognize the products of Pax3/7 genes in a wide range of taxa, allowing us to quickly survey Pax3/7 expression in all four major arthropod groups. Epitope analysis reveals that these antibodies react to a small subset of Paired-class homeodomains, which includes the products of all known Pax3/7 genes. Using these antibodies, we find that Pax3/7 genes in crustaceans are expressed in an early broad and, in one case, dynamic domain followed by segmental stripes, while myriapods and chelicerates exhibit segmental stripes that form early in the posterior-most part of the germ band. This suggests that Pax3/7 genes acquired their role in segmentation deep within, or perhaps prior to, the arthropod lineage. However, we do not detect evidence of pair-rule patterning in either myriapods or chelicerates, suggesting that the early pair-rule expression pattern of Pax3/7 genes in insects may have been acquired within the crustacean-hexapod lineage.
Barnett, Austen A; Thomas, Richard H
The modular organization of arthropod limbs has lead to the evolution of a diversity of appendages within this phylum. A conserved trait within the arthropods is the utilization of a conserved set of regulatory genes that specify the appendage podomeres along the proximo-distal axis, termed the limb gap genes. These include extradenticle, homothorax, dachshund, and Distal-less. The deployment of these genes in the most basally branching arthropod group, the chelicerates, has only been studied in detail in two chelicerate groups, the harvestmen and spiders. Given the broad range of appendage diversity within the chelicerates, comparative studies of gap gene deployment in other chelicerates groups is needed. We therefore followed limb gap gene expression in a member of the largest chelicerate group, Acari, the oribatid mite Archegozetes longisetosus. We show that in contrast to many arthropod species, A. longisetosus expresses homothorax and extradenticle exclusively in the proximal portion of the appendages, which refutes the hypothesis of a sister-group relationship between chelicerates and myriapods. We also provide evidence that mites posses the ancestral chelicerate condition of possessing three-segmented chelicerae, which also express the gene dachshund. This adds support to the hypothesis that a cheliceral dachshund domain is ancestral to arachnids. Lastly, we provide evidence that the suppression of the fourth pair of walking legs, a putative synapomorphy for Acari, is accomplished by repressing the development of the medial and distal regions of the limb.
Davies, Thomas W; Bennie, Jonathan; Inger, Richard; de Ibarra, Natalie Hempel; Gaston, Kevin J
Technological developments in municipal lighting are altering the spectral characteristics of artificially lit habitats. Little is yet known of the biological consequences of such changes, although a variety of animal behaviours are dependent on detecting the spectral signature of light reflected from objects. Using previously published wavelengths of peak visual pigment absorbance, we compared how four alternative street lamp technologies affect the visual abilities of 213 species of arachnid, insect, bird, reptile and mammal by producing different wavelength ranges of light to which they are visually sensitive. The proportion of the visually detectable region of the light spectrum emitted by each lamp was compared to provide an indication of how different technologies are likely to facilitate visually guided behaviours such as detecting objects in the environment. Compared to narrow spectrum lamps, broad spectrum technologies enable animals to detect objects that reflect light over more of the spectrum to which they are sensitive and, importantly, create greater disparities in this ability between major taxonomic groups. The introduction of broad spectrum street lamps could therefore alter the balance of species interactions in the artificially lit environment.
Canals, Mauricio; Arriagada, Nicolás; Solís, Rigoberto
In Chile, all necrotic arachnidism is attributed to the Chilean recluse spider, Loxosceles laeta Nicolet, a species that shares the microenvironmental habitats with the spitting spider Scytodes globula Nicolet. The latter species has been proposed as a potential predator of L. laeta. For this research, we studied the interaction between both species during individual encounters to assess the possibility of population regulation of L. laeta cohorts exposed to this potential predator. We found that in most encounters S. globula prevailed. Also, S. globula preys on spiderlings of L. laeta, with a population effect on cohorts of this species. These findings suggest that S. globula may be influencing L. laeta populations in central Chile. The population regulation of L. laeta by predation would be important because this species, in the absence of predators, has a high reproductive rate, and it can maintain populations of large size. However according to our results, although S. globula may aid in the reduction of both spiderling and adult L. laeta populations, and perhaps other Loxosceles species, it is insufficient for biological control of Loxosceles species. Its presence together with other control measures such as hygiene of the rooms can help to decrease loxoscelism incidence.
Kleespies, Regina G; Federici, Brian A; Leclerque, Andreas
The taxonomic genus Rickettsiella (Gammaproteobacteria; Legionellales) comprises intracellular bacteria associated with a wide range of arthropods including insects, arachnids and crustaceans. The present study provides ultrastructural together with genetic evidence for a Rickettsiella bacterium in the common rough woodlouse, Porcellio scaber (Isopoda, Porcellionidae), occurring in Germany, and shows that this bacterium is very closely related to one of the same genus occurring in California that infects the pill bug, Armadillidium vulgare (Isopoda, Armadillidiidae). Both bacterial isolates displayed the ultrastructural features described previously for crustacean-associated bacteria of the genus Rickettsiella, including the absence of well-defined associated protein crystals; occurrence of the latter is a typical characteristic of infection by this type of bacteria in insects, but has not been reported in crustaceans. A molecular systematic approach combining multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) with likelihood-based significance testing demonstrated that despite their distant geographic origins, both bacteria form a tight sub-clade within the genus Rickettsiella. In the 16S rRNA gene trees, this sub-clade includes other bacterial sequences from woodlice. Moreover, the bacterial specimens from P. scaber and A. vulgare are found genetically or morphologically different from each of the four currently recognized Rickettsiella species. Therefore, the designation 'Candidatus Rickettsiella isopodorum' is introduced for this new lineage of isopod-associated Rickettsiella bacteria.
Pfeiler, Edward; Markow, Therese A.
Studies on the population genetics, phylogenetic relationships, systematics and evolution of arthropods that inhabit necrotic tissue of cacti in the Sonoran Desert of North America are reviewed. These studies have focused upon several species of insects (orders Diptera and Coleoptera) and arachnids (order Pseudoscorpiones). For most taxa studied, little genetic structure and high dispersal ability are found in populations inhabiting the mainland and Baja California peninsula regions of the Sonoran Desert, consistent with the availability of the rotting cactus microhabitat which is patchily distributed and ephemeral. There is evidence, however, that the Gulf of California, which bisects the Sonoran Desert, has played a role in limiting gene flow and promoting speciation in several taxa, including histerid beetles, whereas other taxa, especially Drosophila nigrospiracula and D. mettleri, apparently are able to freely cross the Gulf, probably by taking advantage of the Midriff Islands in the northern Gulf as dispersal “stepping stones”. Genetic evidence has also been found for historical population expansions dating to the Pleistocene and late Pliocene in several taxa. Overall, these studies have provided important insights into how arthropods with different life history traits, but generally restricted to a necrotic cactus microhabitat, have evolved in an environmentally harsh and tectonically active region. In addition, they suggest some taxa for further, and more detailed, hypothesis driven studies of speciation. PMID:26467624
Kilpatrick, A L; Hagerty, A M; Turnipseed, S G; Sullivan, M J; Bridges, W C
Certain neonicotinoids are used in cotton, Gossypium hirsutum (L.), to control various piercing-sucking pests. We conducted field studies using three neonicotinoids (acetamiprid, thiamethoxam, and imidacloprid) and an organophosphate (dicrotophos) to assess the activity of these insecticides against nontarget arthropods, particularly predators, and to determine the potential economic consequences of such activity. Mortality among populations of the big-eyed bug, Geocoris punctipes (Say), and the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, was highest after thiamethoxam and dicrotophos treatments. Numbers of arachnids were consistently lower after dicrotophos treatments, whereas none of the neonicotinoids caused appreciable mortality. Total predators in pooled data from five separate studies revealed that numbers, compared with untreated plots, were reduced by -75% in dicrotophos, 55-60% in thiamethoxam, and only 30% in both acetamiprid and imidacloprid plots. Acetamiprid and thiamethoxam exhibited significant mortality against field-deposited eggs of bollworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie). Both thiamethoxam and dicrotophos plots exhibited bollworm numbers that were approximately three times higher than treatment thresholds (three per 100 plants), whereas numbers in untreated plots were below threshold levels. In one study on Bt cotton, a significant negative correlation was observed between numbers of predators and bollworm larvae. Results demonstrated that neonicotinoids differ in activity against predaceous arthropods and bollworm eggs and that high predator mortality can result in resurgence of bollworm larvae and additional insecticide costs.
In medical entomology, "Arthropod Borne Diseases", or "Vector Borne Diseases" (VBD) are intended as a group of human and animal infections caused by different pathogen organisms (protozoa, helminths, bacteria and viruses) transmitted by the bite of a bloodsucking insect or arachnid. It is commonly known that the infectious diseases transmitted by Arthropods are mainly affecting tropical and subtropical countries, nevertheless some of them were or are still common also in the northern hemisphere, where they are usually maintained under control. VBD still represent some of the most important public health problems in the endemic areas but are becoming source of concern for developed countries too. Since the last decades of the past century, a number of VBD has been spreading geographically, being recorded for the first time in areas outside their original range. This phenomenon is strictly related to the peculiar epidemiological characteristics of these diseases, that are considered the most susceptible to climatic, environmental and socioeconomic changes. This article is a short overview of the VBD endemic and emerging in Italy. The possibility that some exotic vectors and/or pathogens could be introduced and become established in Italy is also discussed.
Clarke, Thomas H.; Garb, Jessica E.; Hayashi, Cheryl Y.; Arensburger, Peter; Ayoub, Nadia A.
The evolution of specialized tissues with novel functions, such as the silk synthesizing glands in spiders, is likely an influential driver of adaptive success. Large-scale gene duplication events and subsequent paralog divergence are thought to be required for generating evolutionary novelty. Such an event has been proposed for spiders, but not tested. We de novo assembled transcriptomes from three cobweb weaving spider species. Based on phylogenetic analyses of gene families with representatives from each of the three species, we found numerous duplication events indicative of a whole genome or segmental duplication. We estimated the age of the gene duplications relative to several speciation events within spiders and arachnids and found that the duplications likely occurred after the divergence of scorpions (order Scorpionida) and spiders (order Araneae), but before the divergence of the spider suborders Mygalomorphae and Araneomorphae, near the evolutionary origin of spider silk glands. Transcripts that are expressed exclusively or primarily within black widow silk glands are more likely to have a paralog descended from the ancient duplication event and have elevated amino acid replacement rates compared with other transcripts. Thus, an ancient large-scale gene duplication event within the spider lineage was likely an important source of molecular novelty during the evolution of silk gland-specific expression. This duplication event may have provided genetic material for subsequent silk gland diversification in the true spiders (Araneomorphae). PMID:26058392
Averdam, Anne; Markl, Jürgen; Burmester, Thorsten
The transport of oxygen in the hemolymph of many arthropod and mollusc species is mediated by large copper-proteins that are referred to as hemocyanins. Arthropod hemocyanins are composed of hexamers and oligomers of hexamers. Arachnid hemocyanins usually form 4 x 6-mers consisting of seven distinct subunit types (termed a-g), although in some spider taxa deviations from this standard scheme have been observed. Applying immunological and electrophoretic methods, six distinct hemocyanin subunits were identified in the red-legged golden orb-web spider Nephila inaurata madagascariensis (Araneae: Tetragnathidae). The complete cDNA sequences of six subunits were obtained that corresponded to a-, b-, d-, e-, f- and g-type subunits. No evidence for a c-type subunit was found in this species. The inclusion of the N. inaurata hemocyanins in a multiple alignment of the arthropod hemocyanins and the application of the Bayesian method of phylogenetic inference allow, for the first time, a solid reconstruction of the intramolecular evolution of the chelicerate hemocyanin subunits. The branch leading to subunit a diverged first, followed by the common branch of the dimer-forming b and c subunits, while subunits d and f, as well as subunits e and g form common branches. Assuming a clock-like evolution of the chelicerate hemocyanins, a timescale for the evolution of the Chelicerata was obtained that agrees with the fossil record.
Larson, Robert E.; Mcentire, Paul L.; Oreilly, John G.
The C Data Manager (CDM) is an advanced tool for creating an object-oriented database and for processing queries related to objects stored in that database. The CDM source code was purchased and will be modified over the course of the Arachnid project. In this report, the modified CDM is referred to as MCDM. Using MCDM, a detailed series of experiments was designed and conducted on a Sun Sparcstation. The primary results and analysis of the CDM experiment are provided in this report. The experiments involved creating the Long-form Faint Source Catalog (LFSC) database and then analyzing it with respect to following: (1) the relationships between the volume of data and the time required to create a database; (2) the storage requirements of the database files; and (3) the properties of query algorithms. The effort focused on defining, implementing, and analyzing seven experimental scenarios: (1) find all sources by right ascension--RA; (2) find all sources by declination--DEC; (3) find all sources in the right ascension interval--RA1, RA2; (4) find all sources in the declination interval--DEC1, DEC2; (5) find all sources in the rectangle defined by--RA1, RA2, DEC1, DEC2; (6) find all sources that meet certain compound conditions; and (7) analyze a variety of query algorithms. Throughout this document, the numerical results obtained from these scenarios are reported; conclusions are presented at the end of the document.
Althaus, Sarah; Jacob, Alain; Graber, Werner; Hofer, Deborah; Nentwig, Wolfgang; Kropf, Christian
Mating plugs occluding the female gonopore after mating are a widespread phenomenon. In scorpions, two main types of mating plugs are found: sclerotized mating plugs being parts of the spermatophore that break off during mating, and gel-like mating plugs being gelatinous fluids that harden in the female genital tract. In this study, the gel-like mating plug of Euscorpius italicus was investigated with respect to its composition, fine structure, and changes over time. Sperm forms the major component of the mating plug, a phenomenon previously unknown in arachnids. Three parts of the mating plug can be distinguished. The part facing the outside of the female (outer part) contains sperm packages containing inactive spermatozoa. In this state, sperm is transferred. In the median part, the sperm packages get uncoiled to single spermatozoa. In the inner part, free sperm is embedded in a large amount of secretions. Fresh mating plugs are soft gelatinous, later they harden from outside toward inside. This process is completed after 3-5 days. Sperm from artificially triggered spermatophores could be activated by immersion in insect Ringer's solution indicating that the fluid condition in the females' genital tract or females' secretions causes sperm activation. Because of the male origin of the mating plug, it has likely evolved under sperm competition or sexual conflict. As females refused to remate irrespective of the presence or absence of a mating plug, females may have changed their mating behavior in the course of evolution from polyandry to monandry.
Smrž, Jaroslav; Kováč, Ĺubomír; Mikeš, Jaromír; Lukešová, Alena
To date, only morphological and anatomical descriptions of microwhip scorpions (Arachnida: Palpigradi) have been published. This very rare group is enigmatic not only in its relationships to other arachnids, but especially due to the fact that these animals dwell only underground (in caves, soil, and interstitial spaces). We observed the curious feeding habit of the microwhip scorpion Eukoenenia spelaea over the course of one year in Ardovská Cave, located in Slovakia's Karst region. We chose histology as our methodology in studying 17 specimens and based it upon Masson's triple staining, fluorescent light and confocal microscopy. Single-celled cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) were conspicuously predominant in the gut of all studied palpigrades. Digestibility of the consumed cyanobacteria was supported by the presence of guanine crystals, glycogen deposits and haemocytes inside the palpigrade body. Cyanobacteria, the oldest cellular organisms on Earth, are very resistant to severe conditions in caves, including even darkness. Therefore, the cyanobacteria are able to survive in dark caves as nearly heterotrophic organisms and are consumed by cave palpigrades. Such feeding habit is extraordinary within the almost wholly predacious orders of the class Arachnida, and particularly so due to the type of food observed.
Baldo, Laura; Prendini, Lorenzo; Corthals, Angelique; Werren, John H
The presence and distribution of the intracellular bacteria Wolbachia in the arthropod subphylum Chelicerata (including class Arachnida) has not been extensively explored. Here we report the discovery of Wolbachia in scorpions. Five strains found in host species of the genus Opistophthalmus (Southern African burrowing scorpions) have been characterized by Multilocus Sequence Typing and by Wolbachia Surface Protein. Phylogenetic analyses indicate clustering in the supergroup F and a high genetic relatedness among all scorpion strains as a result of a potential transmission within the host genus. The F-group is an uncommon lineage compared to the A and B supergroups, although it is present in a broad range of hosts (including insects, filarial nematodes, and now arachnids) and across a large geographical area (e.g., North America, Africa, Europe, and Australia). It also shows no evidence of recombination and has a significantly higher genetic diversity than supergroup A and B. Overall, this pattern suggests an older radiation of F-strains with respect to A and B-strains, followed by limited horizontal transmission across host genera and reduced genetic flux among strains. A more extensive sampling of supergroup F-strains is required to confirm this scenario.
Hilger, Christiane; Kuehn, Annette; Raulf, Monika; Jakob, Thilo
Arthropods form a broad phylum within the animal kingdom, comprising widely varying members such as insects, arachnids, crabs and centipedes. In addition to common allergies to house dust mites or hymenoptera venom, there are also rarer allergies that can be attributed to three major sources of allergens: cockroaches, ticks and storage mites. Other less known allergen sources include spiders, mosquitos, horseflies, red chironomid larvae, silverfish and ladybugs, as well as a variety of storage pests. At present, only extract-based test systems are available for the majority of allergens in IgE-based diagnostics. Molecular characterisation of numerous individual allergens has already been carried out. However, these individual allergens are only available for a small number of allergen sources (e. g. cockroaches and storage mites) in routine diagnostics. Particularly in the case of allergen sources with known high cross-reactivity, the use of marker allergens is believed to improve diagnostics. The currently known individual allergens of the above-mentioned allergy triggers from the arthropod realm are summarized and their potential use in allergy diagnostics discussed.
Cajado-Carvalho, Daniela; Kuniyoshi, Alexandre Kazuo; Duzzi, Bruno; Iwai, Leo Kei; de Oliveira, Úrsula Castro; Junqueira de Azevedo, Inácio de Loiola Meirelles; Kodama, Roberto Tadashi; Portaro, Fernanda Vieira
The number of cases of envenomation by scorpions has grown significantly in Brazil since 2007, with the most severe cases being caused by the Tityus serrulatus scorpion. Although envenomed patients mostly suffer neurotoxic manifestations, other symptoms, such as hypertension, cannot be exclusively attributed to neurotoxins. Omics analyses have detected plentiful amounts of metalloproteases in T. serrulatus venom. However, the roles played by these enzymes in envenomation are still unclear. Endeavoring to investigate the functions of scorpion venom proteases, we describe here for the first time an Angiotensin I-Converting Enzyme-like peptidase (ACE-like) purified from T. serrulatus venom. The crude venom cleaved natural and fluorescent substrates and these activities were inhibited by captopril. Regarding the serum neutralization, the scorpion antivenom was more effective at blocking the ACE-like activity than arachnid antivenom, although neither completely inhibited the venom cleavage action, even at higher doses. ACE-like was purified from the venom after three chromatographic steps and its identity was confirmed by mass spectrometric and transcriptomic analyses. Bioinformatics analysis showed homology between the ACE-like transcript sequences from Tityus spp. and human testis ACE. These findings advance our understanding of T. serrulatus venom components and may improve treatment of envenomation victims, as ACE-like may contribute to envenomation symptoms, especially the resulting hypertension. PMID:27886129
Emata, K N; Hedin, M
The harvestmen genus Calicina is represented by 25 short-range endemic species occurring in the western Sierra Nevada, Transverse and Coast Ranges of California. Our principal aim was to reconstruct the temporal and spatial biogeographic history of this arachnid lineage. We inferred a time-calibrated species tree for 21 of 25 described Calicina species using multiple genes and multilocus coalescent-based methods. This species tree was used as a framework for algorithmic biogeographic and divergence time analyses, and a phylogenetic canonical correlation analysis (CCA) was used to examine the relationship between morphological evolution and environmental variables. Species tree and biogeographic analyses indicate that high-elevation Sierran taxa are early-diverging in Calicina, with subsequent biogeographic "criss-crossing" of lineages from the Sierra Nevada to the Coast Ranges, back to the Sierra Nevada, then back to Coast Ranges. In both the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges, distantly-related parapatric lineages essentially never occur in sympatry. CCA reveals that in both the Coast Ranges and the Sierra Nevada, distant phylogenetic relatives evolve convergent morphologies. Our evidence shows that Calicina is clearly dispersal-limited, with an ancient biogeographic history that provides unique insight into the complex geologic evolution of California since the mid-Paleogene.
Ruhland, Fanny; Pétillon, Julien; Trabalon, Marie
Many arachnids like other terrestrial arthropods, provide extensive maternal care. Few studies have quantified the underlying physiological costs of maternal care. We investigated how maternal care affects the free-moving wolf spider's (Pardosa saltans) energy requirements. We described in detail their basic reproduction biology (i.e. carrying cocoon and young) and we evaluated the variation in the females' energy reserves during maternal care. Our results show that mothers guard eggs until hatching and then guard their spiderlings for 27-30 more days. Laboratory observations indicated that spiderlings start leaving the maternal abdomen gradually 5-7days after hatching. Females carry an egg sac (cocoon) that can weigh up to 77% of their post-reproduction weight and carry young that weigh 87-100% of their body mass. Females lost weight over time despite regular food intake, while carrying cocoon and young; but their weights increased gradually during the dispersal of young. The contributions of proteins, glucose and triglycerides to maintain females' energy were calculated. Their energetic state varied during maternal care, in particular lipid levels declined, during the care of spiderlings when the females' predatory behaviour was inhibited. Our results show that the maternal care provided by P. saltans females is particularly costly physiologically, during the 30days following egg sac formation and development of spiderlings, even when food is available.
Gainett, Guilherme; Michalik, Peter; Müller, Carsten H G; Giribet, Gonzalo; Talarico, Giovanni; Willemart, Rodrigo H
Harvestmen (Arachnida, Opiliones) are especially dependent on chemical cues and are often regarded as animals that rely mainly on contact chemoreception. Information on harvestman sensilla is scarce when compared to other arachnid orders, especially concerning internal morphology. Using scanning (SEM) and transmission (TEM) electron microscopy, we investigated tarsal sensilla on the distal tarsomeres (DT) of all leg pairs in Heteromitobates discolor (Laniatores, Gonyleptidae). Furthermore, we explored the typological diversity of sensilla present on the DT I and II in members of the suborder Laniatores, which include two thirds of the formally described opilionid fauna, using species from 17 families representing all main laniatorian lineages. Our data revealed that DT I and II of H. discolor are equipped with wall-pored falciform hairs (two types), wall-pored sensilla chaetica (two types) and tip-pored sensilla chaetica, while DT III and IV are mainly covered with trichomes (non-sensory) and tip-pored sensilla chaetica. The ultrastructural characteristics support an olfactory function for all wall-pored sensilla and a dual gustatory/mechanoreceptive function for tip-pored sensilla chaetica. Based on our comparative SEM survey, we show that wall-pored sensilla occur in all investigated Laniatores, demonstrating their widespread occurrence in the suborder and highlighting the importance of both legs I and II as the sensory appendages of laniatorean harvestmen. Our results provide the first morphological evidence for olfactory receptors in Laniatores and suggest that olfaction is more important for harvestmen than previously thought.
Cushing, Paula E; Graham, Matthew R; Prendini, Lorenzo; Brookhart, Jack O
Camel spiders (Solifugae) are a diverse but poorly studied order of arachnids. No robust phylogenetic analysis has ever been carried out for the order or for any family within the Solifugae. We present a molecular phylogenetic analysis of the endemic North American family Eremobatidae Kraepelin, 1899, the first such analysis of a family of Solifugae. We use a multi-locus exemplar approach using DNA sequences from partial nuclear (28S rDNA and Histone H3) and mitochondrial (16S rRNA and Cytochrome c Oxidase I) gene loci for 81 ingroup exemplars representing all genera of Eremobatidae and most species groups within the genera Eremobates Banks, 1900, Eremochelis Roewer, 1934, and Hemerotrecha Banks, 1903. Maximum Likelihood and two Bayesian analyses consistently recovered the monophyly of Eremobatidae, Eremorhax Roewer, 1934 and Eremothera Muma, 1951 along with a group comprising all subfamily Eremobatinae Kraepelin, 1901 exemplars except Horribates bantai Muma, 1989 and a group comprising all Eremocosta Roewer, 1934 exemplars except Eremocosta acuitalpanensis (Vasquez and Gavin, 2000). The subfamily Therobatinae Muma, 1951 and the genera Chanbria Muma, 1951, Hemerotrecha, Eremochelis, and Eremobates were polyphyletic or paraphyletic. Only the banksi group of Hemerotrecha was monophyletic; the other species groups recognized within Eremobates, Eremochelis, and Hemerotrecha were paraphyletic or polyphyletic. We found no support for the monophyly of the subfamily Therobatinae. A time-calibrated phylogeny dated the most recent common ancestor of extant eremobatids to the late Eocene to early Miocene, with a mean estimate in the late Oligocene (32.2 Ma).
Kronenberger, Katrin; Dicko, Cedric; Vollrath, Fritz
The discovery of a novel silk production system in a marine amphipod provides insights into the wider potential of natural silks. The tube-building corophioid amphipod Crassicorophium bonellii produces from its legs fibrous, adhesive underwater threads that combine barnacle cement biology with aspects of spider silk thread extrusion spinning. We characterised the filamentous silk as a mixture of mucopolysaccharides and protein deriving from glands representing two distinct types. The carbohydrate and protein silk secretion is dominated by complex β-sheet structures and a high content of charged amino acid residues. The filamentous secretion product exits the gland through a pore near the tip of the secretory leg after having moved through a duct, which subdivides into several small ductules all terminating in a spindle-shaped chamber. This chamber communicates with the exterior and may be considered the silk reservoir and processing/mixing space, in which the silk is mechanically and potentially chemically altered and becomes fibrous. We assert that further study of this probably independently evolved, marine arthropod silk processing and secretion system can provide not only important insights into the more complex arachnid and insect silks but also into crustacean adhesion cements.
Woodin, Marc C.; Skoruppa, Mary Kay; Bryan, Pearce D.; Ruddy, Amanda J.; Hickman, Graham C.
Grassland birds have undergone widespread decline throughout North America during the past several decades. Causes of this decline include habitat loss and fragmentation because of conversion of grasslands to cropland, afforestation in the East, brush and shrub invasion in the Southwest and western United States, and planting of exotic grass species to enhance forage production. A large number of exotic plant species, including grasses, have been introduced in North America, but most research on the effects of these invasions on birds has been limited to breeding birds, primarily those in northern latitudes. Research on the effects of exotic grasses on birds in winter has been extremely limited. This is the first study in southern Texas to examine and compare winter bird responses to native and exotic grasslands. This study was conducted during a period of six years (2003-2009) on United States Navy facilities in southern Texas including Naval Air Station-Corpus Christi, Naval Air Station-Kingsville, Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Waldron, Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Orange Grove, and Escondido Ranch, all of which contained examples of native grasslands, exotic grasslands, or both. Data from native and exotic grasslands were collected and compared for bird abundance and diversity; ground cover, vegetation density, and floristic diversity; bird and vegetation relationships; diversity of insects and arachnids; and seed abundance and diversity. Effects of management treatments in exotic grasslands were evaluated by comparing numbers and diversity of birds and small mammals in mowed, burned, and control areas. To determine bird abundance and bird species richness, birds were surveyed monthly (December-February) during the winters of 2003-2008 in transects (100 meter ? 20 meter) located in native and exotic grasslands distributed at all five U.S. Navy facilities. To compare vegetation in native and exotic grasslands, vegetation characteristics were measured during 2003
Kartsev, V M
In general, there are no drastic differences in phenoptosis patterns in plant and animal organisms. However, there are some specific features characteristic for insects and other arthropods: 1) their development includes metamorphosis with different biochemical laws at consecutive developmental stages; 2) arthropods can reduce or stop development and aging when in a state of diapause or temporal cold immobility; 3) their life cycle often correlates with seasonal changes of surroundings; 4) polymorphism is widespread - conspecifics differ by their lifespans and phenoptosis features; 5) lifespan-related sexual dimorphism is common; 6) significant situational plasticity of life cycle organization is an important feature; for example, the German wasp (Paravespula germanica) is obligatorily univoltine in the temperate zone, while in tropical regions its lifespan increases and leads to repeated reproduction; 7) life cycles of closely related species may differ significantly, for example, in contrast to German wasp, some tropical hornets (Vespa) have only one reproduction period. Surprisingly, many insect species have been shown to be subjected to gradual aging and phenoptosis, like the highest mammals. However, queens of social insects and some long-lived arachnids can apparently be considered non-aging organisms. In some species, lifespan is limited to one season, while others live much longer or shorter. Cases of one-time reproduction are rather rare. Aphagia is common in insects (over 10,000 species). Cannibalism is an important mortality factor in insects as well as in spiders. In social insects, which exist only in colonies (families), the lifetime of a colony can be virtually unlimited. However, in case of some species the developmental cycle and death of a colony after its completion are predetermined. Most likely, natural selection in insects does not lengthen individual lifespan, but favors increase in reproduction efficiency based on fast succession of
Estrada-Gómez, Sebastian; Gomez-Rave, Lyz; Vargas-Muñoz, Leidy Johana; van der Meijden, Arie
The objective of this study was to characterize six different scorpion venoms using biological and biochemical methods, including a preliminary MS/MS and a post-translational modifications analysis. Despite the diversity of scorpion species of medical importance in Africa and Colombia, the venoms of these arachnids have been poorly studied in these two regions. We report the biochemical, electrophoretic, chromatographic profile, internal peptide sequences with a post-translational modification report, and a preliminary antitumor activity of five different scorpions of the Buthidae family, Androctonus amoreuxi, Babycurus jacksoni, Grosphus grandidieri, Hottentotta gentili and Tityus fuhrmanni, and one of the Scorpionidae family Pandinus imperator. No L-amino oxidase activity was detected in the evaluated venoms. Proteolytic activity using azocasein was detected only in G. grandidieri and P. imperator, indicating the possible presence of metalloproteinases in these two venoms. Proteolytic activity using NOBA was detected in all venoms indicating the possible presence of serine-proteinases. Phospholipase A2 activity was detected in the venoms of P. imperator, G. grandidieri, H. gentili and A. amoreuxi, with P. imperator venom being the most active. All venoms analyzed contained defensin-like proteins, alpha toxins, metalloproteinases, neuropeptides, DBP affecting ion channels, DBP with antimicrobial activity, among others. Venoms from P. imperator, G. grandidieri and T. fuhrmanni showed a dose-dependent cytotoxic activity over MCF-7 cells. Only two isolated RP-HPLC fractions from P. imperator and T. fuhrmanni showed cytotoxic activity over MCF-7. No cytotoxic activity was found in the venoms from A. amoreuxi, B. jacksoni, and H. gentili.
Frank, J. H.; Lounibos, L. P.
Summary Bromeliads are a Neotropical plant family (Bromeliaceae) with about 2,900 described species. They vary considerably in architecture. Many impound water in their inner leaf axils to form phytotelmata (plant pools), providing habitat for terrestrial arthropods with aquatic larvae, while their outer axils provide terraria for an assemblage of fully terrestrial arthropods. Many bromeliads are epiphytic. Dominant terrestrial arthropods with aquatic larvae inhabiting bromeliad phytotelmata are typically larvae of Diptera, of which at least 16 families have been reported, but in some circumstances are Coleoptera, of which only three families have been reported. Other groups include crabs and the insect orders Odonata, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera, plus Hemiptera with adults active on the water surface. The hundreds of arthropod species are detritivores or predators and do not harm their host plants. Many of them are specialists to this habitat. Terrestrial arthropods with terrestrial larvae inhabiting bromeliad terraria include many more arachnid and insect orders, but relatively few specialists to this habitat. They, too, are detritivores or predators. Arthropod herbivores, especially Curculionidae (Coleoptera) and Lepidoptera, consume leaves, stems, flowers, pollen, and roots of bromeliads. Some herbivores consume nectar, and some of these and other arthropods provide pollination and even seed-dispersal. Ants have complex relationships with bromeliads, a few being herbivores, some guarding the plants from herbivory, and some merely nesting in bromeliad terraria. A few serve as food for carnivorous bromeliads, which also consume other terrestrial insects. Bromeliads are visited by far more species of arthropods than breed in them. This is especially notable during dry seasons, when bromeliads provide moist refugia. PMID:20209047
Ortega-Hernández, Javier; Janssen, Ralf; Budd, Graham E
The panarthropod head represents a complex body region that has evolved through the integration and functional specialization of the anterior appendage-bearing segments. Advances in the developmental biology of diverse extant organisms have led to a substantial clarity regarding the relationships of segmental homology between Onychophora (velvet worms), Tardigrada (water bears), and Euarthropoda (e.g. arachnids, myriapods, crustaceans, hexapods). The improved understanding of the segmental organization in panarthropods offers a novel perspective for interpreting the ubiquitous Cambrian fossil record of these successful animals. A combined palaeobiological and developmental approach to the study of the panarthropod head through deep time leads us to propose a consensus hypothesis for the intricate evolutionary history of this important tagma. The contribution of exceptionally preserved brains in Cambrian fossils - together with the recognition of segmentally informative morphological characters - illuminate the polarity for major anatomical features. The euarthropod stem-lineage provides a detailed view of the step-wise acquisition of critical characters, including the origin of a multiappendicular head formed by the fusion of several segments, and the transformation of the ancestral protocerebral limb pair into the labrum, following the postero-ventral migration of the mouth opening. Stem-group onychophorans demonstrate an independent ventral migration of the mouth and development of a multisegmented head, as well as the differentiation of the deutocerebral limbs as expressed in extant representatives. The anterior organization of crown-group Tardigrada retains several ancestral features, such as an anterior-facing mouth and one-segmented head. The proposed model aims to clarify contentious issues on the evolution of the panarthropod head, and lays the foundation from which to further address this complex subject in the future.
Dziki, Austin; Binford, Greta J.; Coddington, Jonathan A.
The Caribbean island biota is characterized by high levels of endemism, the result of an interplay between colonization opportunities on islands and effective oceanic barriers among them. A relatively small percentage of the biota is represented by ‘widespread species,’ presumably taxa for which oceanic barriers are ineffective. Few studies have explored in detail the genetic structure of widespread Caribbean taxa. The cobweb spider Spintharus flavidus Hentz, 1850 (Theridiidae) is one of two described Spintharus species and is unique in being widely distributed from northern N. America to Brazil and throughout the Caribbean. As a taxonomic hypothesis, Spintharus “flavidus” predicts maintenance of gene flow among Caribbean islands, a prediction that seems contradicted by known S. flavidus biology, which suggests limited dispersal ability. As part of an extensive survey of Caribbean arachnids (project CarBio), we conducted the first molecular phylogenetic analysis of S. flavidus with the primary goal of testing the ‘widespread species’ hypothesis. Our results, while limited to three molecular loci, reject the hypothesis of a single widespread species. Instead this lineage seems to represent a radiation with at least 16 species in the Caribbean region. Nearly all are short range endemics with several distinct mainland groups and others are single island endemics. While limited taxon sampling, with a single specimen from S. America, constrains what we can infer about the biogeographical history of the lineage, clear patterns still emerge. Consistent with limited overwater dispersal, we find evidence for a single colonization of the Caribbean about 30 million years ago, coinciding with the timing of the GAARLandia landbridge hypothesis. In sum, S. “flavidus” is not a single species capable of frequent overwater dispersal, but rather a 30 my old radiation of single island endemics that provides preliminary support for a complex and contested geological
Mattoni, Camilo I.; García-Hernández, Solimary; Botero-Trujillo, Ricardo; Ochoa, José A.; Ojanguren-Affilastro, Andrés A.; Pinto-da-Rocha, Ricardo; Prendini, Lorenzo
Autotomy, the voluntary shedding or detachment of a body part at a determined cleavage plane, is a common anti-predation defense mechanism in several animal taxa, including arthropods. Among arachnids, autotomy has been observed in harvestmen, mites, and spiders, always involving the loss of legs. Autotomy of the opisthosoma (abdomen) was recently reported in a single species of the Neotropical buthid scorpion genus Ananteris Thorell, 1891, but few details were revealed. Based on observations in the field and laboratory, examination of material in museum collections, and scanning electron microscopy, we document autotomy of the metasoma (the hind part of the opisthosoma, or ‘tail’) in fourteen species of Ananteris. Autotomy is more common in males than females, and has not been observed in juveniles. When the scorpion is held by the metasoma, it is voluntarily severed at the joints between metasomal segments I and II, II and III, or III and IV, allowing the scorpion to escape. After detachment, the severed metasoma moves (twitches) automatically, much like the severed tail of a lizard or the severed leg of a spider, and reacts to contact, even attempting to sting. The severed surface heals rapidly, scar tissue forming in five days. The lost metasomal segments and telson cannot be regenerated. Autotomy of the metasoma and telson results in permanent loss of the posterior part of the scorpion’s digestive system (the anus is situated posteriorly on metasomal segment V) and the ability to inject venom by stinging. After autotomy, scorpions do not defecate and can only capture small prey items. However, males can survive and mate successfully for up to eight months in the laboratory. In spite of diminished predation ability after autotomy, survival allows males to reproduce. Autotomy in Ananteris therefore appears to be an effective, adaptive, anti-predation escape mechanism. PMID:25629529
Hoy, Marjorie A.; Waterhouse, Robert M.; Wu, Ke; Estep, Alden S.; Ioannidis, Panagiotis; Palmer, William J.; Pomerantz, Aaron F.; Simão, Felipe A.; Thomas, Jainy; Jiggins, Francis M.; Murphy, Terence D.; Pritham, Ellen J.; Robertson, Hugh M.; Zdobnov, Evgeny M.; Gibbs, Richard A.; Richards, Stephen
Metaseiulus occidentalis is an eyeless phytoseiid predatory mite employed for the biological control of agricultural pests including spider mites. Despite appearances, these predator and prey mites are separated by some 400 Myr of evolution and radically different lifestyles. We present a 152-Mb draft assembly of the M. occidentalis genome: Larger than that of its favored prey, Tetranychus urticae, but considerably smaller than those of many other chelicerates, enabling an extremely contiguous and complete assembly to be built—the best arachnid to date. Aided by transcriptome data, genome annotation cataloged 18,338 protein-coding genes and identified large numbers of Helitron transposable elements. Comparisons with other arthropods revealed a particularly dynamic and turbulent genomic evolutionary history. Its genes exhibit elevated molecular evolution, with strikingly high numbers of intron gains and losses, in stark contrast to the deer tick Ixodes scapularis. Uniquely among examined arthropods, this predatory mite’s Hox genes are completely atomized, dispersed across the genome, and it encodes five copies of the normally single-copy RNA processing Dicer-2 gene. Examining gene families linked to characteristic biological traits of this tiny predator provides initial insights into processes of sex determination, development, immune defense, and how it detects, disables, and digests its prey. As the first reference genome for the Phytoseiidae, and for any species with the rare sex determination system of parahaploidy, the genome of the western orchard predatory mite improves genomic sampling of chelicerates and provides invaluable new resources for functional genomic analyses of this family of agriculturally important mites. PMID:26951779
Clarke, Laurence J; Soubrier, Julien; Weyrich, Laura S; Cooper, Alan
Studies of insect assemblages are suited to the simultaneous DNA-based identification of multiple taxa known as metabarcoding. To obtain accurate estimates of diversity, metabarcoding markers ideally possess appropriate taxonomic coverage to avoid PCR-amplification bias, as well as sufficient sequence divergence to resolve species. We used in silico PCR to compare the taxonomic coverage and resolution of newly designed insect metabarcodes (targeting 16S) with that of existing markers [16S and cytochrome oxidase c subunit I (COI)] and then compared their efficiency in vitro. Existing metabarcoding primers amplified in silico <75% of insect species with complete mitochondrial genomes available, whereas new primers targeting 16S provided >90% coverage. Furthermore, metabarcodes targeting COI appeared to introduce taxonomic PCR-amplification bias, typically amplifying a greater percentage of Lepidoptera and Diptera species, while failing to amplify certain orders in silico. To test whether bias predicted in silico was observed in vitro, we created an artificial DNA blend containing equal amounts of DNA from 14 species, representing 11 insect orders and one arachnid. We PCR-amplified the blend using five primer sets, targeting either COI or 16S, with high-throughput amplicon sequencing yielding more than 6 million reads. In vitro results typically corresponded to in silico PCR predictions, with newly designed 16S primers detecting 11 insect taxa present, thus providing equivalent or better taxonomic coverage than COI metabarcodes. Our results demonstrate that in silico PCR is a useful tool for predicting taxonomic bias in mixed template PCR and that researchers should be wary of potential bias when selecting metabarcoding markers.
Crisol-Martínez, Eduardo; Moreno-Moyano, Laura T.; Wormington, Kevin R.; Brown, Philip H.; Stanley, Dragana
Worldwide, avian communities inhabiting agro-ecosystems are threatened as a consequence of agricultural intensification. Unravelling their ecological role is essential to focus conservation efforts. Dietary analysis can elucidate bird-insect interactions and expose avian pest-reduction services, thus supporting avian conservation. In this study, we used next-generation sequencing to analyse the dietary arthropod contents of 11 sympatric bird species foraging in macadamia orchards in eastern Australia. Across all species and based on arthropod DNA sequence similarities ≥98% with records in the Barcode of Life Database, 257 operational taxonomy units were assigned to 8 orders, 40 families, 90 genera and 89 species. These taxa included 15 insect pests, 5 of which were macadamia pests. Among the latter group, Nezara viridula (Pentatomidae; green vegetable bug), considered a major pest, was present in 23% of all faecal samples collected. Results also showed that resource partitioning in this system is low, as most bird species shared large proportion of their diets by feeding primarily on lepidopteran, dipteran and arachnids. Dietary composition differed between some species, most likely because of differences in foraging behaviour. Overall, this study reached a level of taxonomic resolution never achieved before in the studied species, thus contributing to a significant improvement in the avian ecological knowledge. Our results showed that bird communities prey upon economically important pests in macadamia orchards. This study set a precedent by exploring avian pest-reduction services using next-generation sequencing, which could contribute to the conservation of avian communities and their natural habitats in agricultural systems. PMID:26930484
Fuzita, Felipe J.; Pinkse, Martijn W. H.; Patane, José S. L.; Juliano, Maria A.; Verhaert, Peter D. E. M.; Lopes, Adriana R.
, a large gene duplication of cathepsin L occurred in Arachnida with the sequences from ticks being completely divergent from other arachnids probably due to the particular selective pressures over this group. PMID:25875018
Renner, Susanne S
Descriptions and diagnoses are alternative choices in all Codes of Nomenclature because Linnaeus relied on diagnoses, not descriptions, to name ca. 13,400 animals, plants, and fungi. A diagnosis names characters in which a new taxon differs from the most similar known taxon; a description mixes taxonomically informative and uninformative features, usually without indicating which is which. The first formal diagnoses of new taxa that included DNA-based characters came out in 2001, and by November 2015, at least 98 names of species of acoels, lichens, angiosperms, annelids, alveolates, arachnids, centipedes, turtles, fishes, butterflies, mollusks, nematodes, and pathogenic fungi have been published based on diagnostic mitochondrial, plastid, or nuclear DNA substitutions, indels, or rarely genetic distances, with or without additional morphological features. Authors have found diverse ways to specify the diagnostic traits (all published studies are here tabulated). While descriptions try to "cover" within-species variation, a goal rarely accomplished because of (i) the stochastic nature of specimen availability (thousands of species are known from single collections) and (ii) the subjective circumscription of species, the purpose of diagnoses was and is speedy identification. Linnaeus tried to achieve this by citing images, geographic occurrence, and previous literature. The renewed attention to sharp diagnosis now coincides with worldwide barcoding efforts, may speed up formal naming, and matches the increasing reliance on DNA for both classification and identification. I argue for DNA-based diagnoses of new species becoming a recommendation in all Codes, not just the bacterial code. [Codes of Nomenclature; description; diagnosis; DNA-based diagnosis; naming new species; nomenclature.
Although attention has been called to their presence as fossils in Quaternary lake and bog deposits a number of times, the moss mites (Arthropoda; Oribatida) have never been given serious attention during paleoecological work. This study is the first to demonstrate the quality and quantity of oribatid fossil material preserved in post-glacial lacustrine sediments. Oribatids have been identified from Jurassic rocks and from Tertiary ambers in Mexico and the Baltic Region. They are sclerotized, chelicerate, arachnids (Acari) which possess many features that make them readily identifiable from fossil material. Setae, tarsi, genital and anal plates, sensilla, notogastral pits and pores, and a wide variety of ornamentation are particularly useful. More than 5000 species in 700 genera occur worldwide. Most are less than 500..mu..m in size. Oribatids are often ecologically specific and may be assigned to restricted habitats. They do not fly and are thus unlikely to be found in sediments beyond their local ranges. Some species are lacustrine; many favor bog habitats. A large literature describes ecological preferences of extant species. More than 10,000 specimens of larval and adult mites have been taken from 72 samples of lake sediment, ranging from <14,700 to <2000 years in age. This report focuses on a dozen 10-gram samples which yielded more than 1300 specimens from 7 genera. Species of Hydrozetes and Limnozetes are abundant in lake sediments; these become rarer and are replaced in peats by a diverse fauna including species of Oripoda, Scapheremaeus, Sphaerozetes, Scheloribates, Magnobates(.), and unidentified taxa. Preservation of delicate setal hairs, genital plates and sensilla allows ready generic identification. SEM photomicrographs serve to illustrate the quality of preservation and the morphologically important features by way of introduction to this under-utilized group.
Masta, Susan E.; Boore, Jeffrey L.
We sequenced the entire mitochondrial genome of the jumping spider Habronattus oregonensis of the arachnid order Araneae (Arthropoda: Chelicerata). A number of unusual features distinguish this genome from other chelicerate and arthropod mitochondrial genomes. Most of the transfer RNA gene sequences are greatly reduced in size and cannot be folded into typical cloverleaf-shaped secondary structures. At least nine of the tRNA sequences lack the potential to form TYC arm stem pairings, and instead are inferred to have TV-replacement loops. Furthermore, sequences that could encode the 3' aminoacyl acceptor stems in at least 10 tRNAs appear to be lacking, because fully paired acceptor stems are not possible and because the downstream sequences instead encode adjacent genes. Hence, these appear to be among the smallest known tRNA genes. We postulate that an RNA editing mechanism must exist to restore the 3' aminoacyl acceptor stems in order to allow the tRNAs to function. At least seven tRN As are rearranged with respect to the chelicerate Limulus polyphemus, although the arrangement of the protein-coding genes is identical. Most mitochondrial protein-coding genes of H. oregonensis have ATN as initiation codons, as commonly found in arthropod mtDNAs, but cytochrome oxidase subunit 2 and 3 genes apparently use UUG as an initiation codon. Finally, many of the gene sequences overlap one another and are truncated. This 14,381 bp genome, the first mitochondrial genome of a spider yet sequenced, is one of the smallest arthropod mitochondrial genomes known. We suggest that post transcriptional RNA editing can likely maintain function of the tRNAs while permitting the accumulation of mutations that would otherwise be deleterious. Such mechanisms may have allowed for the minimization of the spider mitochondrial genome.
Zels, Sven; Dillen, Senne; Crabbé, Katleen; Spit, Jornt; Nachman, Ronald J; Vanden Broeck, Jozef
Sulfakinin (SK) is a sulfated insect neuropeptide that is best known for its function as a satiety factor. It displays structural and functional similarities with the vertebrate peptides gastrin and cholecystokinin. Peptidomic studies in multiple insects, crustaceans and arachnids have revealed the widespread occurrence of SK in the arthropod phylum. Multiple studies in hemi- and holometabolous insects revealed the pleiotropic nature of this neuropeptide: in addition to its activity as a satiety factor, SK was also reported to affect muscle contraction, digestive enzyme release, odor preference, aggression and metabolism. However, the main site of action seems to be the digestive system of insects. In this study, we have investigated whether SK can intervene in the control of nutrient uptake and digestion in the migratory locust (Locusta migratoria). We provide evidence that sulfakinin reduces food uptake in this species. Furthermore, we discovered that SK has very pronounced effects on the main digestive enzyme secreting parts of the locust gut. It effectively reduced digestive enzyme secretion from both the midgut and gastric caeca. SK injection also elicited a reduction in absorbance and proteolytic activity of the gastric caeca contents. The characteristic sulfation of the tyrosine residue is crucial for the observed effects on digestive enzyme secretion. In an attempt to provide potential leads for the development of peptidomimetic compounds based on SK, we also tested two mimetic analogs of the natural peptide ligand in the digestive enzyme secretion assay. These analogs were able to mimic the effect of the natural SK, but their effects were milder. The results of this study provide new insights into the action of SK on the digestive system in (hemimetabolous) insects.
Patil, Bhavani; Prabhu, Suphala; Rajashekhar, K P
Lyriform slits sense organs (LSSO) are a precise assembly of stress detecting cuticular slit sensilla found on the appendages of arachnids. While these structures on the legs of the wandering spider Cupennius salei are well studied in terms of morphology, function and contribution to behaviour, their distribution on pedipalps and spinnerets of spiders is not well explored. A study was therefore carried out to observe the distribution of LSSO on pedipalps and spinnerets of some spider species. Haplogyne spiders belonging to family Pholcidae have a simple complement of LSSOs represented by one or two LSSOs on their femur. The entelegyne spiders possess a complex assembly of LSSOs on the distal segments of their pedipalps. Various types of LSSOs are found on the pedipalps indicating a capacity for analysis of complex cuticular stress. It is suggested that the complexity of LSSOs on pedipalps of entel-egyne spiders relates to courtship and spermatophore transfer and may help in reproductive isolation. Lack of LSSOs on the distal segments of pedipalps leads us to infer that unlike legs, pedipalps are less likely to receive vibratory input through their distal segments. Spinnerets have a relatively simple complement of LSSOs. One LSSO is found only on anterior spinnerets and it is a common feature observed among spiders, irrespective of the variations in web building behaviour. The orb-weaving araneid Argiope pulchella, however, has two LSSOs on the anterior spinneret. As non-web builders and orb weavers do not differ markedly in terms of LSSOs on the spinnerets and LSSOs are simple in nature (type A), it is likely that spinning and weaving are not largely regulated by sensory input from LSSOs on the spinnerets.
Cueva-Dabkoski, M.; Kavanaugh, D.
Between 1998 and 2007, the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) was the lead institution in a multi-national, multi-disciplinary biodiversity inventory project in the Gaoligong Shan region (GLGS) in the Yunnan province of China. The project surveyed the species diversity of both higher plants and bryophytes, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and selected groups of arachnids and insects. The GLGS of China is one of the most biodiverse areas in all of Asia, yet it is also very poorly sampled and in great threat from increasing human activities in the region. CAS's biodiversity inventory project there has increased the number of carabid species known from just 50 to more than 550 species, an eleven-fold increase. The task that remains is to identify all of those 500 additional species and describe any that are new to science. This project is part of that larger biodiversity survey. Our objective was to identify and/or describe carabid beetles of the tribe Cyclosomini represented by nearly a hundred specimens collected in the GLSG. Among those specimens, six morphospecies were identified - one belonging to the genus Cyclosomus Latreille 1829, and the other five belonging to the genus Tetragonoderus Dejean 1829. Following this initial identification process, a list of known distributions of taxa in both genera was assembled to determine which described species to consider for comparative work. Original descriptions were then located for candidate species with known distributions in or near the GLGS; and these are being used now in morphological comparison of specimens. Type specimens for each of the candidate species have been requested from various academic institutions, and morphological comparisons with these types are underway. Morphological characteristics being examined include body proportions and overall shape, color of appendages, color and shape of pronotum, elytral color patterns, and shape and internal structure of male genitalia.
Venancio, Emerson J; Portaro, Fernanda C V; Kuniyoshi, Alexandre K; Carvalho, Daniela Cajado; Pidde-Queiroz, Giselle; Tambourgi, Denise V
Tityus scorpion stings are an important public health problem in Brazil, where the incidence of such stings exceeds the incidence of the health problems caused by other venomous animals, including snakes. In this study, we have analysed specific enzymatic activities of the venom from the Brazilian scorpions of Tityus genus, i.e., Tityus serrulatus, Tityus bahiensis and Tityus stigmurus. The data presented here revealed that Tityus spp. venoms exhibited significant hyaluronidase activity but no phospholipase activity. All the venom samples exhibited the ability to hydrolyse Abz-FLRRV-EDDnp and dynorphin 1-13 substrates. These activities were inhibited by 1,10-phenanthroline but not by PMSF, indicating the presence of metalloproteinases in the Tityus spp. venoms. The venom peptidase activity on Abz-FLRRV-EDDnp and on dynorphin 1-13 was partially inhibited by therapeutic Brazilian anti-scorpion and anti-arachnidic antivenoms. Dynorphin 1-13 (YGGFLRRIRPKLK) contains two scissile bonds between the residues Leu-Arg and Arg-Arg that are susceptible to cleavage by the Tityus venom metallopeptidase(s). Their cleavage releases leu-enkephalin, an important bioactive peptide. The detection of metalloproteinase(s) with specificity for both dynorphin 1-13 degradation and leu-enkephalin releasing can be important for the mechanistic understanding of hypotension and bradycardia induction in cases of scorpion stings, whereas hyaluronidases might contribute to the diffusion of the toxins present in these venoms. Furthermore, the limited inhibition of the toxic enzymatic activities by commercial antivenoms illustrates the necessity of improvements in current antivenom preparation.
Mattoni, Camilo I; García-Hernández, Solimary; Botero-Trujillo, Ricardo; Ochoa, José A; Ojanguren-Affilastro, Andrés A; Pinto-da-Rocha, Ricardo; Prendini, Lorenzo
Autotomy, the voluntary shedding or detachment of a body part at a determined cleavage plane, is a common anti-predation defense mechanism in several animal taxa, including arthropods. Among arachnids, autotomy has been observed in harvestmen, mites, and spiders, always involving the loss of legs. Autotomy of the opisthosoma (abdomen) was recently reported in a single species of the Neotropical buthid scorpion genus Ananteris Thorell, 1891, but few details were revealed. Based on observations in the field and laboratory, examination of material in museum collections, and scanning electron microscopy, we document autotomy of the metasoma (the hind part of the opisthosoma, or 'tail') in fourteen species of Ananteris. Autotomy is more common in males than females, and has not been observed in juveniles. When the scorpion is held by the metasoma, it is voluntarily severed at the joints between metasomal segments I and II, II and III, or III and IV, allowing the scorpion to escape. After detachment, the severed metasoma moves (twitches) automatically, much like the severed tail of a lizard or the severed leg of a spider, and reacts to contact, even attempting to sting. The severed surface heals rapidly, scar tissue forming in five days. The lost metasomal segments and telson cannot be regenerated. Autotomy of the metasoma and telson results in permanent loss of the posterior part of the scorpion's digestive system (the anus is situated posteriorly on metasomal segment V) and the ability to inject venom by stinging. After autotomy, scorpions do not defecate and can only capture small prey items. However, males can survive and mate successfully for up to eight months in the laboratory. In spite of diminished predation ability after autotomy, survival allows males to reproduce. Autotomy in Ananteris therefore appears to be an effective, adaptive, anti-predation escape mechanism.
Fuzita, Felipe J; Pinkse, Martijn W H; Patane, José S L; Juliano, Maria A; Verhaert, Peter D E M; Lopes, Adriana R
, a large gene duplication of cathepsin L occurred in Arachnida with the sequences from ticks being completely divergent from other arachnids probably due to the particular selective pressures over this group.
Argôlo-Filho, Ronaldo Costa; Loguercio, Leandro Lopes
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has been used successfully as a biopesticide for more than 60 years. More recently, genes encoding their toxins have been used to transform plants and other organisms. Despite the large amount of research on this bacterium, its true ecology is still a matter of debate, with two major viewpoints dominating: while some understand Bt as an insect pathogen, others see it as a saprophytic bacteria from soil. In this context, Bt’s pathogenicity to other taxa and the possibility that insects may not be the primary targets of Bt are also ideas that further complicate this scenario. The existence of conflicting research results, the difficulty in developing broader ecological and genetics studies, and the great genetic plasticity of this species has cluttered a definitive concept. In this review, we gathered information on the aspects of Bt ecology that are often ignored, in the attempt to clarify the lifestyle, mechanisms of transmission and target host range of this bacterial species. As a result, we propose an integrated view to account for Bt ecology. Although Bt is indeed a pathogenic bacterium that possesses a broad arsenal for virulence and defense mechanisms, as well as a wide range of target hosts, this seems to be an adaptation to specific ecological changes acting on a versatile and cosmopolitan environmental bacterium. Bt pathogenicity and host-specificity was favored evolutionarily by increased populations of certain insect species (or other host animals), whose availability for colonization were mostly caused by anthropogenic activities. These have generated the conditions for ecological imbalances that favored dominance of specific populations of insects, arachnids, nematodes, etc., in certain areas, with narrower genetic backgrounds. These conditions provided the selective pressure for development of new hosts for pathogenic interactions, and so, host specificity of certain strains. PMID:26462580
Harrington, David; Din, Hatem Mohi El; Guy, Jonathan; Robinson, Karen; Sparagano, Olivier
Dermanyssus gallinae is the most significant ectoparasite of European poultry egg laying production systems due to high costs of control and associated production losses as well as adverse effects on bird welfare. In this study, soluble proteins were extracted from unfed D. gallinae (DGE) using a urea-based detergent and ultra-filtration, passed through a 0.22 microm filter and blended aseptically with adjuvant. One group of laying hens was immunized with DGE and adjuvant (Montanide ISA 50 V) whilst another group (Control) received physiological saline and adjuvant. All birds were immunized on two occasions, 21 days apart. Antibody response to immunization was determined by ELISA and western blotting using immunoglobulins (Igs) extracted from egg yolk. DGE immunization of hens resulted in a significant (P<0.05) IgY response compared to controls, although there was no significant difference in IgM response between treatments. A number of proteins were identified by western blotting using IgY antibodies from DGE immunized birds, most prominently at 40 and 230kDa. Analysis of proteins from approximately corresponding bands on SDS-PAGE confirmed the identity of tropomyosin, whilst other proteins showed high sequence homology with myosin and actin from other arachnid and insect species. Immunization of hens with DGE resulted in a 50.6% increase in mite mortality (P<0.001) 17h after feeding when tested by an in vitro mite feeding model. Data in this study demonstrate that somatic antigens from D. gallinae can be used to stimulate a protective immune response in laying hens. Further work is needed to identify other proteins of interest that could confer higher protection against D. gallinae, as well as optimization of the vaccination and in vitro testing protocol.
Reynolds, M.H.; Slotterback, J.W.; Walters, J.R.
The Laysan teal (Anas laysanensis) is an endangered dabbling duck endemic to the Hawaiian Archipelago but currently restricted to a single breeding population on Laysan Island. We studied its diet using fecal analysis and behavioral observations. Laysan teal fecal samples (N=118) contained prey items in 15 primary prey categories with a mean of 2.9 (range 0-7) taxa per sample. Sixty-two of these fecal samples were quantified with 2,270 prey items identified (mean items per sample 37; range 0-205). Based on fecal analysis and behavioral observations, we learned that the Laysan teal is not strictly a macroinsectivore as previously reported, but consumed seeds, succulent leaves, and algae, in addition to adult and larval diptera, ants, lepidoptera, coleoptera, and Artemia. We compared abundance of invertebrates from two terrestrial foraging substrates, soil and standing vegetation, to the abundance of invertebrate prey items counted in fecal samples collected from these habitats for the same period. In the soil substrate, Laysan teal selected two of the most abundant invertebrates, lepidoptera larvae and coleoptera. In the standing vegetation, Laysan teal selected the most abundant taxa: coleoptera. Amphipods were consumed in proportion to their abundance, and small gastropods (Tornatellides sp.), isopods, and arachnids were avoided or were identified in fecal matter in disproportion to their abundance in the foraging habitat. We compared fecal composition of samples collected in aquatic and terrestrial habitats and detected significant differences in samples' species compositions. The conservation implications of the adult Laysan teal's diet are positive, since results indicate that the Laysan teal are opportunistic insectivores, and exhibit dietary flexibility that includes seeds and other food. Dietary flexibility improves the possibility of successfully reestablishing populations on other predator-free islands.
Lees, Kristin; Jones, Andrew K.; Matsuda, Kazuhiko; Akamatsu, Miki; Sattelle, David B.; Woods, Debra J.; Bowman, Alan S.
Ticks and tick-borne diseases have a major impact on human and animal health worldwide. Current control strategies rely heavily on the use of chemical acaricides, most of which target the CNS and with increasing resistance, new drugs are urgently needed. Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are targets of highly successful insecticides. We isolated a full-length nAChR α subunit from a normalised cDNA library from the synganglion (brain) of the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus. Phylogenetic analysis has shown this R. sanguineus nAChR to be most similar to the insect α1 nAChR group and has been named Rsanα1. Rsanα1 is distributed in multiple tick tissues and is present across all life-stages. When expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes Rsanα1 failed to function as a homomer, with and without the addition of either Caenorhabditis elegans resistance-to-cholinesterase (RIC)-3 or X. laevis RIC-3. When co-expressed with chicken β2 nAChR, Rsanα1 evoked concentration-dependent, inward currents in response to acetylcholine (ACh) and showed sensitivity to nicotine (100 μM) and choline (100 μM). Rsanα1/β2 was insensitive to both imidacloprid (100 μM) and spinosad (100 μM). The unreliable expression of Rsanα1 in vitro suggests that additional subunits or chaperone proteins may be required for more robust expression. This study enhances our understanding of nAChRs in arachnids and may provide a basis for further studies on the interaction of compounds with the tick nAChR as part of a discovery process for novel acaricides. PMID:24291321
Adlassnig, Wolfram; Peroutka, Marianne; Lendl, Thomas
Background Carnivorous pitcher plants (CPPs) use cone-shaped leaves to trap animals for nutrient supply but are not able to kill all intruders of their traps. Numerous species, ranging from bacteria to vertrebrates, survive and propagate in the otherwise deadly traps. This paper reviews the literature on phytotelmata of CPPs. Pitcher Fluid as a Habitat The volumes of pitchers range from 0·2 mL to 1·5 L. In Nepenthes and Cephalotus, the fluid is secreted by the trap; the other genera collect rain water. The fluid is usually acidic, rich in O2 and contains digestive enzymes. In some taxa, toxins or detergents are found, or the fluid is extremely viscous. In Heliamphora or Sarracenia, the fluid differs little from pure water. Inquiline Diversity Pitcher inquilines comprise bacteria, protozoa, algae, fungi, rotifers, crustaceans, arachnids, insects and amphibia. The dominant groups are protists and Dipteran larvae. The various species of CPPs host different sets of inquilines. Sarracenia purpurea hosts up to 165 species of inquilines, followed by Nepenthes ampullaria with 59 species, compared with only three species from Brocchinia reducta. Reasons for these differences include size, the life span of the pitcher as well as its fluid. Mutualistic Activities Inquilines closely interact with their host. Some live as parasites, but the vast majority are mutualists. Beneficial activities include secretion of enzymes, feeding on the plant's prey and successive excretion of inorganic nutrients, mechanical break up of the prey, removal of excessive prey and assimilation of atmospheric N2. Conclusions There is strong evidence that CPPs influence their phytotelm. Two strategies can be distinguished: (1) Nepenthes and Cephalotus produce acidic, toxic or digestive fluids and host a limited diversity of inquilines. (2) Genera without efficient enzymes such as Sarracenia or Heliamphora host diverse organisms and depend to a large extent on their symbionts for prey utilization
Gomes, Helga; Romeiro, Nelilma C.; Braz, Gloria R. C.; de Oliveira, Eduardo Alves Gamosa; Rodrigues, Camilla; da Fonseca, Rodrigo Nunes; Githaka, Naftaly; Isezaki, Masayoshi; Konnai, Satoru; Ohashi, Kazuhiko; da Silva Vaz, Itabajara; Logullo, Carlos; Moraes, Jorge
Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) are a family of serine/threonine kinases essential for cell cycle progression. Herein, we describe the participation of CDKs in the physiology of Rhipicephalus microplus, the southern cattle tick and an important disease vector. Firstly, amino acid sequences homologous with CDKs of other organisms were identified from a R. microplus transcriptome database in silico. The analysis of the deduced amino acid sequences of CDK1 and CDK10 from R. microplus showed that both have caspase-3/7 cleavage motifs despite their differences in motif position and length of encoded proteins. CDK1 has two motifs (DKRGD and SAKDA) located opposite to the ATP binding site while CDK10 has only one motif (SLLDN) for caspase 3–7 near the ATP binding site. Roscovitine (Rosco), a purine derivative that inhibits CDK/cyclin complexes by binding to the catalytic domain of the CDK molecule at the ATP binding site, which prevents the transfer of ATP's γphosphoryl group to the substrate. To determine the effect of Rosco on tick CDKs, BME26 cells derived from R. microplus embryo cells were utilized in vitro inhibition assays. Cell viability decreased in the Rosco-treated groups after 24 hours of incubation in a concentration-dependent manner and this was observed up to 48 hours following incubation. To our knowledge, this is the first report on characterization of a cell cycle protein in arachnids, and the sensitivity of BME26 tick cell line to Rosco treatment suggests that CDKs are potential targets for novel drug design to control tick infestation. PMID:24146826
Transcriptome Analysis of the Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems of the Spider Cupiennius salei Reveals Multiple Putative Cys-Loop Ligand Gated Ion Channel Subunits and an Acetylcholine Binding Protein.
Torkkeli, Päivi H; Liu, Hongxia; French, Andrew S
Invertebrates possess a diverse collection of pentameric Cys-loop ligand gated ion channel (LGIC) receptors whose molecular structures, evolution and relationships to mammalian counterparts have been intensely investigated in several clinically and agriculturally important species. These receptors are targets for a variety of control agents that may also harm beneficial species. However, little is known about Cys-loop receptors in spiders, which are important natural predators of insects. We assembled de novo transcriptomes from the central and peripheral nervous systems of the Central American wandering spider Cupiennius salei, a model species for neurophysiological, behavioral and developmental studies. We found 15 Cys-loop receptor subunits that are expected to form anion or cation permeable channels, plus a putative acetylcholine binding protein (AChBP) that has only previously been reported in molluscs and one annelid. We used phylogenetic and sequence analysis to compare the spider subunits to homologous receptors in other species and predicted the 3D structures of each protein using the I-Tasser server. The quality of homology models improved with increasing sequence identity to the available high-resolution templates. We found that C. salei has orthologous γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), GluCl, pHCl, HisCl and nAChα LGIC subunits to other arthropods, but some subgroups are specific to arachnids, or only to spiders. C. salei sequences were phylogenetically closest to gene fragments from the social spider, Stegodyphus mimosarum, indicating high conservation within the Araneomorphae suborder of spiders. C. salei sequences had similar ligand binding and transmembrane regions to other invertebrate and vertebrate LGICs. They also had motifs associated with high sensitivity to insecticides and antiparasitic agents such as fipronil, dieldrin and ivermectin. Development of truly selective control agents for pest species will require information about the molecular
Davis, Rosie F; Johnston, Graham A; Sladden, Michael J
This review article summarizes the ectoparasitic diseases likely to be seen by a Western dermatologist. The article aims to cover both endemic diseases and those likely to present in the returning traveler. Tungiasis is due to the gravid sand flea (Tunga penetrans) embedding into the stratum corneum of a human host. As the flea is a ground dweller, lesions are usually present on the feet and are classically periungual. The sand flea is eventually shed spontaneously but to reduce the infection risk, early surgical removal is recommended. Infestation by the Diptera species of fly causes myiasis, which may be primary, secondary, or accidental. The botfly (Dermatobia hominis) is one of the causes of primary myiasis covered in this article. Traditionally, botfly larvae are forced to partially emerge by occluding the breathing apparatus, following which manual extraction can occur. Alternatively, the larvae can be surgically removed. The common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) has experienced a resurgence over the past 10 years. Bites are typically arranged in clusters or a linear fashion and vary from urticated wheals to hemorrhagic blisters. Treatment is symptomatic with antihistamines and topical corticosteroids. In addition, bed bugs need to be eradicated from furniture and soft furnishings. Ticks are part of the Arachnid class of joint-legged animals and can transmit a variety of infections. This article briefly discusses Mediterranean spotted fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Lyme disease as well as describing tick avoidance measures. Scabies (Sarcoptes scabiei var hominis) is highly contagious and widely distributed around the world. It is common in the returning traveler and can require a high index of suspicion to diagnose. The treatment of choice in the US, UK, and Australia is permethrin 5% dermal cream, applied on two occasions, 1 week apart.
Grow, Nanda B; Wirdateti; Nekaris, K A I
The venom produced by slow lorises (Nycticebus spp.) is toxic both intra- and inter-specifically. In this study we assessed the ecoparasite repellent properties of their venom. We tested venom from two Indonesian slow loris species: Nycticebus javanicus and Nycticebus coucang. Arthropods directly exposed to brachial gland secretions mixed with saliva from both species were immediately impaired or exhibited reduced activity (76%), and often died as a result (61%). We found no significant difference in the result of 60-min trials between N. coucang and N. javanicus [X(2)(1, n = 140) = 2.110, p = 0.3482]. We found evidence that the degree of lethality of the venom varies according to the arthropod taxa to which it is exposed. While most maggots (84%) were initially impaired from the venom after 10 min, maggots died after a 1 h trial 42% of the time. In contrast, at the end of 1 h trial, spiders died 78% of the time. For all arthropods, the average time to death from exposure was less than 25 min (M = 24.40, SD = 22.60). Ectoparasites including ticks, members of the arachnid order, are known to transmit pathogens to hosts and may be an intended target of the toxic secretions. Our results suggest that one function of slow loris venom is to repel parasites that affect their fitness, and that their topical anointing behaviour may be an adaptive response to ectoparasites.
Transcriptome Analysis of the Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems of the Spider Cupiennius salei Reveals Multiple Putative Cys-Loop Ligand Gated Ion Channel Subunits and an Acetylcholine Binding Protein
Torkkeli, Päivi H.; Liu, Hongxia; French, Andrew S.
Invertebrates possess a diverse collection of pentameric Cys-loop ligand gated ion channel (LGIC) receptors whose molecular structures, evolution and relationships to mammalian counterparts have been intensely investigated in several clinically and agriculturally important species. These receptors are targets for a variety of control agents that may also harm beneficial species. However, little is known about Cys-loop receptors in spiders, which are important natural predators of insects. We assembled de novo transcriptomes from the central and peripheral nervous systems of the Central American wandering spider Cupiennius salei, a model species for neurophysiological, behavioral and developmental studies. We found 15 Cys-loop receptor subunits that are expected to form anion or cation permeable channels, plus a putative acetylcholine binding protein (AChBP) that has only previously been reported in molluscs and one annelid. We used phylogenetic and sequence analysis to compare the spider subunits to homologous receptors in other species and predicted the 3D structures of each protein using the I-Tasser server. The quality of homology models improved with increasing sequence identity to the available high-resolution templates. We found that C. salei has orthologous γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), GluCl, pHCl, HisCl and nAChα LGIC subunits to other arthropods, but some subgroups are specific to arachnids, or only to spiders. C. salei sequences were phylogenetically closest to gene fragments from the social spider, Stegodyphus mimosarum, indicating high conservation within the Araneomorphae suborder of spiders. C. salei sequences had similar ligand binding and transmembrane regions to other invertebrate and vertebrate LGICs. They also had motifs associated with high sensitivity to insecticides and antiparasitic agents such as fipronil, dieldrin and ivermectin. Development of truly selective control agents for pest species will require information about the molecular
Ardisson-Araújo, Daniel Mendes Pereira; Morgado, Fabrício Da Silva; Schwartz, Elisabeth Ferroni; Corzo, Gerardo; Ribeiro, Bergmann Morais
Baculoviruses are the most studied insect viruses in the world and are used for biological control of agricultural and forest insect pests. They are also used as versatile vectors for expression of heterologous proteins. One of the major problems of their use as biopesticides is their slow speed to kill insects. Thus, to address this shortcoming, insect-specific neurotoxins from arachnids have been introduced into the baculovirus genome solely aiming to improve its virulence. In this work, an insecticide-like toxin gene was obtained from a cDNA derived from the venom glands of the theraphosid spider Brachypelma albiceps. The mature form of the peptide toxin (called Ba3) has a high content of basic amino acid residues, potential for three possible disulfide bonds, and a predicted three-stranded β-sheetDifferent constructions of the gene were engineered for recombinant baculovirus Autographa californica multiple nuclepolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) expression. Five different forms of Ba3 were assessed; (1) the full-length sequence, (2) the pro-peptide and mature region, (3) only the mature region, and the mature region fused to an (4) insect or a (5) virus-derived signal peptide were inserted separately into the genome of the baculovirus. All the recombinant viruses induced cell death by necrosis earlier in infection relative to a control virus lacking the toxin gene. However, the recombinant virus containing the mature portion of the toxin gene induced a faster cell death than the other recombinants. We found that the toxin construct with the signal peptide and/or pro-peptide regions delayed the necrosis phenotype. When infected cells were subjected to ultrastructural analysis, the cells showed loss of plasma membrane integrity and structural changes in mitochondria before death. Our results suggest this use of baculovirus is a potential tool to help understand or to identify the effect of insect-specific toxic peptides when produced during infection of insect cells. PMID
Negrisolo, Enrico; Minelli, Alessandro; Valle, Giorgio
Recent advances in molecular phylogenetics are continuously changing our perception of the phylogenetic relationships among the main arthropod lineages: crustaceans, hexapods, chelicerates, and myriapods. Besides the intrinsic interest in unraveling the evolution of the largest animal phylum, these studies are basic to an understanding of one of the major transitions in animal evolution-i.e., the conquest of land with all its associated structural and functional adaptations. Myriapods have been traditionally considered the closest relatives of hexapods, thus implying only one origin of terrestriality for the tracheate lineage, but this view is now challenged by molecular evidence. Sequence data available to date for centipedes and millipedes are very limited, and the taxon sampling is strongly biased. The most critical gap was the scutigeromorph centipedes, which are the sister group to all remaining Chilopoda from which they probably diverged in the Silurian if not earlier. We obtained the first complete mitochondrial sequence for a representative of this clade, the house centipede. In our phylogenetic analyses of the protein-coding genes in this mitochondrial genome, along with 16 further ones representing the other major arthropod clades plus two outgroups, the myriapods formed a clade with the chelicerates. This implies that water-to-land transition occurred at least three times (hexapods, myriapods, arachnids) during the evolution of the Arthropoda. In addition, in contrast to all previous studies, our best supported topologies favor paraphyly of the myriapods with respect to the chelicerates. This would increase to four the main events of land colonization in arthropods (once for centipedes, once for millipedes).
Conti, F. D.; Menta, C.; Piovesan, G.
The contribution of soil organisms to ecosystem functions such as decomposition, nutrient recycling and the maintenance of physico-chemical properties is well recognised, as is the fact that soil fauna plays an important role in the formation and stabilisation of soil structure. The diversity of soil fauna includes a quarter of described living species, the majority of which are insects and arachnids. Soil fauna plays an essential role in forests and agro-ecosystems by maintaining their functionality and productivity. The aim of this study is to evaluate the biodiversity of soil microarthropods communities in different Italian beech forest. Particular attention is paid to the role of fossorial microarthropods in the maintenance of soil structure and in the organic matter movements. Three beech forests are studied, two located in the North and one in the Centre of Italy. Microarthropods are extracted from litter and soil with a Berlese-Tullgren funnel, identified to order level (class level for myriapods) and counted using a microscope. Relative order abundance and biodiversity are expressed using the Shannon-Weaver diversity index (H) and evenness index (J). Soil biological quality is expressed using the QBS-ar index and Acari/Collembola ratio. The results show a richness of microarthropods: several orders, till 19 different groups, are determined and identified. Acari and collembola are the main represented taxa and, especially in litter samples, pseudoscorpions, different specimens of diplopods (or millipedes) and chilopods (centipedes) are found. Thus the presence in particular of diplopods offers the possibility of studying fossorial microarthropods functions in detail. Furthermore, both in soil and in litter samples, adapted groups are recognized, such as pauropods, symphyla, proturans and diplurans, with specific morphological characteristics that these species suited to soil habitat. Therefore they attest a good level of soil quality and high natural value
The Cambrian fossil record of euarthropods (extant arachnids, myriapods, crustaceans, hexapods) has played a major role in understanding the origins of these successful animals and indicates that early ancestors underwent an evolutionary transition from soft-bodied taxa (lobopodians) to more familiar sclerotized forms with jointed appendages [1-3]. Recent advances in paleoneurology and developmental biology show that this major transformation is reflected by substantial changes in the head region of early euarthropods, as informed by the segmental affinity of the cephalic appendages [1, 4-6]. However, data on the implications of this reorganization for non-appendicular exoskeletal structures are lacking, given the difficulty of inferring the precise segmental affinities of these features. Here, I report neurological remains associated with the stalked eyes and "anterior sclerite" in the (middle Cambrian) Burgess Shale euarthropods Helmetia expansa and Odaraia alata and provide evidence that these features are associated with nerve traces originating from the anterior brain region, the protocerebrum. The position of the protocerebral ganglia in exceptionally preserved Cambrian euarthropods indicates the homology of the anterior sclerite in extinct groups (e.g., fuxianhuiids, bivalved forms, artiopodans [7, 8]) and allows new comparisons with the dorsal cephalic plate of radiodontans, large nektonic predators whose anterior segmental organization bears fundamental similarities to that of Paleozoic lobopodians [1, 6, 9, 10]. These observations allow reconstruction of the segmental architecture of the head region in the earliest sclerotized euarthropods and demonstrate the deep homology between exoskeletal features in an evolutionary continuum of taxa with distinct types of body organization.
Background In practically every human culture, the use of arthropods as medicinal resources has been reported. In Mexico, the Mayan people mainly use plants but occasionally also animals and minerals in their medicine. This article is the first to report the traditional use of the tarantula Brachypelma vagans by medicine men in the Chol community, an ancient indigenous group that inhabits the southeastern part of Mexico. We also describe the utility of such arachnids in traditional medicine. Methods This study was carried out in different Chol communities in the states of Chiapas and Campeche (southeastern Mexico) from 2003 until 2007. We interviewed the local medicine men, patients and non-Chol people in each village visited to collect information about the rituals involved and the effectiveness of this traditional medicine and also their opinion of this traditional medicine. Results In all independent villages, the people who present an illness called 'aire de tarantula' or tarantula wind with symptoms including chest pain, coughing and asthma, were treated by the medicine man (called 'hierbatero') with a tarantula-based beverage. From village to village, the beverage has a similar base composition but some variations occur in additional ingredients depending on the individual medicine man. Like in all traditional Mayan medicine, the ritual of the ceremony consists of drinking the tarantula-based beverage and this is principally accompanied by chants and burning of incense. Conclusions The recipe of the tarantula-based beverage and the procedure of this ritual ceremony were fairly constant in all the villages visited. Our work shows that despite the tarantula's bad image in several cultures, in others positive use is made of these spiders, as in modern medicine. PMID:21450096
Jones, Martin; Gantenbein, Benjamin; Fet, Victor; Blaxter, Mark
Chelicerates are a diverse group of arthropods, with around 65,000 described species occupying a wide range of habitats. Many phylogenies describing the relationships between the various chelicerate orders have been proposed. While some relationships are widely accepted, others remain contentious. To increase the taxonomic sampling of species available for phylogenetic study based on mitochondrial genomes we produced the nearly complete sequence of the mitochondrial genome of the scorpion Mesobuthus gibbosus. Mitochondrial gene order in M. gibbosus largely mirrors that in Limulus polyphemus but tRNA secondary structures are truncated. A recent analysis argued that independent reversal of mitochondrial genome strand-bias in several groups of arthropods, including spiders and scorpions, could compromise phylogenetic reconstruction and proposed an evolutionary model that excludes mutational events caused by strand-bias (Neutral Transitions Excluded, NTE). An arthropod dataset of six mitochondrial genes, when analyzed under NTE, yields strong support for scorpions as sister taxon to the rest of Chelicerata. We investigated the robustness of this result by exploring the effect of adding additional chelicerate genes and taxa and comparing the phylogenies obtained under different models. We find evidence that (1) placement of scorpions arising at the base of the Chelicerata is an artifact of model mis-specification and scorpions are strongly supported as basal arachnids and (2) an expanded chelicerate dataset finds support for several proposed interordinal relationships (ticks plus mites [Acari] and spiders plus whip spiders plus whip scorpions [Araneae+Pedipalpi]). Mitochondrial sequence data are subject to systematic bias that is positively misleading for evolutionary inference and thus extreme methodological care must be taken when using them to infer phylogenies.
Zhou, Ying; Carpenter, Zachary W.; Brennan, Gregory
Drosophila Morgue is a unique ubiquitination protein that facilitates programmed cell death and associates with DIAP1, a critical cell death inhibitor with E3 ubiquitin ligase activity. Morgue possesses a unique combination of functional domains typically associated with distinct types of ubiquitination enzymes. This includes an F box characteristic of the substrate-binding subunit in Skp, Cullin, and F box (SCF)-type ubiquitin E3 ligase complexes and a variant ubiquitin E2 conjugase domain where the active site cysteine is replaced by a glycine. Morgue also contains a single C4-type zinc finger motif. This architecture suggests potentially novel ubiquitination activities for Morgue. In this study, we address the evolutionary origins of this distinctive protein utilizing a combination of bioinformatics and molecular biology approaches. We find that Morgue exhibits widespread but restricted phylogenetic distribution among metazoans. Morgue proteins were identified in a wide range of Protostome phyla, including Arthropoda, Annelida, Mollusca, Nematoda, and Platyhelminthes. However, with one potential exception, Morgue was not detected in Deuterostomes, including Chordates, Hemichordates, or Echinoderms. Morgue was also not found in Ctenophora, Cnidaria, Placozoa, or Porifera. Characterization of Morgue sequences within specific animal lineages suggests that gene deletion or acquisition has occurred during divergence of nematodes and that at least one arachnid expresses an atypical form of Morgue consisting only of the variant E2 conjugase domain. Analysis of the organization of several morgue genes suggests that exon-shuffling events have contributed to the evolution of the Morgue protein. These results suggest that Morgue mediates conserved and distinctive ubiquitination functions in specific cell death pathways. PMID:19602541
Becker, Jamie E; Brown, Christopher A
selection in other arachnids.
Becker, Jamie E.; Brown, Christopher A.
selection in other arachnids. PMID:28030603
Wolff, Jonas O; Schönhofer, Axel L; Schaber, Clemens F; Gorb, Stanislav N
Gluing can be a highly efficient mechanism of prey capture, as it should require less complex sensory-muscular feedback. Whereas it is well known in insects, this mechanism is much less studied in arachnids, except spiders. Soil-dwelling harvestmen (Opiliones, Nemastomatidae) bear drumstick-like glandular hairs (clavate setae) at their pedipalps, which were previously hypothesized to be sticky and used in prey capture. However, clear evidence for this was lacking to date. Using high-speed videography, we found that the harvestman Mitostoma chrysomelas was able to capture fast-moving springtails (Collembola) just by a slight touch of the pedipalp. Adhesion of single clavate setae increased proportionally with pull-off velocity, from 1 μN at 1 μm s(-1) up to 7 μN at 1 mm s(-1), which corresponds to the typical weight of springtails. Stretched glue droplets exhibited characteristics of a viscoelastic fluid forming beads-on-a-string morphology over time, similar to spider capture threads and the sticky tentacles of carnivorous plants. These analogies indicate that viscoelasticity is a highly efficient mechanism for prey capture, as it holds stronger the faster the struggling prey moves. Cryo-scanning electron microscopy of snap-frozen harvestmen with glued springtails revealed that the gluey secretions have a high affinity to wet the microstructured cuticle of collembolans, which was previously reported to be barely wettable for both polar and non-polar liquids. Glue droplets can be contaminated with the detached scaly setae of collembolans, which may represent a counter-adaptation against entrapment by the glue, similar to the scaly surfaces of Lepidoptera and Trichoptera (Insecta) facilitating escape from spider webs.
Leitão, Sara; José Cerejeira, Maria; Abreu, Manuela; Sousa, José Paulo
Sustainable agricultural production relies on soil communities as the main actors in key soil processes necessary to maintain sustainable soil functioning. Soil biodiversity influences soil physical and chemical characteristics and thus the sustainability of crop and agro-ecosystems functioning. Agricultural practices (e.g.: soil tillage, pesticides and fertilizer applications, irrigation) may affects negatively or positively soil biodiversity and abundances by modifying the relationships between organisms in the soil ecosystem. The present study aimed to study the influence of agricultural practices of three crops (potato, onion and maize) under Mediterranean climate conditions on soil macro- and mesofauna during their entire crop cycles. Effects on soil communities were assessed at a higher tier of environmental risk assessment comprising field testing of indigenous edaphic communities in a selected study-site located in a major agriculture region of Central Portugal, Ribatejo e Oeste, neighbouring protected wetlands. A reference site near the agricultural field site was selected as a Control site to compare the terrestrial communities' composition and variation along the crop cycle. The field soil and Control site soil are sandy loam soils. Crops irrigation was performed by center-pivot (automated sprinkler that rotates in a half a circle area) and by sprinklers. Soil macro- and mesofauna were collected at both sites (field and Control) using two methodologies through pitfall trapping and soil sampling. The community of soil macro- and mesofauna of the three crops field varied versus control site along the crops cycles. Main differences were due to arachnids, coleopterans, ants and adult Diptera presence and abundance. The feeding activity of soil fauna between control site and crop areas varied only for potato and onion crops vs. control site but not among crops. Concentration of pesticides residues in soil did not cause apparent negative effects on the soil
Kamiński, Piotr; Barczak, Tadeusz; Bennewicz, Janina; Jerzak, Leszek; Bogdzińska, Maria; Aleksandrowicz, Oleg; Koim-Puchowska, Beata; Szady-Grad, Małgorzata; Klawe, Jacek J; Woźniak, Alina
The relationships between the bioaccumulation of Na, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn, Co, Cd, and Pb, acidity (pH), salinity (Ec), and organic matter content within trophic levels (water-soil-plants-invertebrates) were studied in saline environments in Poland. Environments included sodium manufactures, wastes utilization areas, dumping grounds, and agriculture cultivation, where disturbed Ca, Mg, and Fe exist and the impact of Cd and Pb is high. We found Zn, Cu, Mn, Co, and Cd accumulation in the leaves of plants and in invertebrates. Our aim was to determine the selectivity exhibited by soil for nutrients and heavy metals and to estimate whether it is important in elucidating how these metals are available for plant/animal uptake in addition to their mobility and stability within soils. We examined four ecological plant groups: trees, shrubs, minor green plants, and water macrophytes. Among invertebrates, we sampled breastplates Malacostraca, small arachnids Arachnida, diplopods Diplopoda, small insects Insecta, and snails Gastropoda. A higher level of chemical elements was found in saline polluted areas (sodium manufactures and anthropogenic sites). Soil acidity and salinity determined the bioaccumulation of free radicals in the trophic levels measured. A pH decrease caused Zn and Cd to increase in sodium manufactures and an increase in Ca, Zn, Cu, Cd, and Pb in the anthropogenic sites. pH increase also caused Na, Mg, and Fe to increase in sodium manufactures and an increase in Na, Fe, Mn, and Co in the anthropogenic sites. There was a significant correlation between these chemical elements and Ec in soils. We found significant relationships between pH and Ec, which were positive in saline areas of sodium manufactures and negative in the anthropogenic and control sites. These dependencies testify that the measurement of the selectivity of cations and their fluctuation in soils provide essential information on the affinity and binding strength in these environments. The
Zacaï, Axelle; Vannier, Jean; Lerosey-Aubril, Rudy
The feeding ecology of the 505-million-year-old arthropod Sidneyia inexpectans from the middle Cambrian (Series 3, Stage 5) Burgess Shale fauna (British Columbia, Canada) is revealed by three lines of evidence: the structure of its digestive system, the fossilized contents of its gut and the functional anatomy of its appendages. The digestive tract of Sidneyia is straight, tubular and relatively narrow in the trunk region. It is enlarged into a pear-shaped area in the cephalic region and stretches notably to form a large pocket in the abdomen. The mouth is ventral, posteriorly directed and leads to the midgut via a short tubular structure interpreted as the oesophagus. Anteriorly, three pairs of glands with internal, branching tubular structures open into the digestive tract. These glands have equivalents in various Cambrian arthropod taxa (e.g. naraoiids) and modern arthropods. Their primary function was most likely to digest and assimilate food. The abdominal pocket of Sidneyia concentrates undigested skeletal elements and various residues. It is interpreted here as the functional analogue of the stercoral pocket of some extant terrestrial arachnids (e.g. Araneae, Solifugae), whose primary function is to store food residuals and excretory material until defecation. Analysis of the gut contents indicates that Sidneyia fed largely on small ptychopariid trilobites, brachiopods, possibly agnostids, worms and other undetermined animals. Sidneyia was primarily a durophagous carnivore with predatory and/or scavenging habits, feeding on small invertebrates that lived at the water-sediment interface. There is no evidence for selective feeding. Its food items (e.g. living prey or dead material) were grasped and manipulated ventrally by its anterior appendages, then macerated into ingestible fragments and conveyed to the mouth via the converging action of strong molar-like gnathobases. Digestion probably took place within the anterior midgut via enzymes secreted in the
Gewehr, Camila; Oliveira, Sara Marchesan; Rossato, Mateus Fortes; Trevisan, Gabriela; Dalmolin, Gerusa Duarte; Rigo, Flávia Karine; de Castro Júnior, Célio José; Cordeiro, Marta Nascimento; Ferreira, Juliano; Gomez, Marcus V.
Background The frequency of accidental spider bites in Brazil is growing, and poisoning due to bites from the spider genus Phoneutria nigriventer is the second most frequent source of such accidents. Intense local pain is the major symptom reported after bites of P. nigriventer, although the mechanisms involved are still poorly understood. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify the mechanisms involved in nociception triggered by the venom of Phoneutria nigriventer (PNV). Methodology/Principal Findings Twenty microliters of PNV or PBS was injected into the mouse paw (intraplantar, i.pl.). The time spent licking the injected paw was considered indicative of the level of nociception. I.pl. injection of PNV produced spontaneous nociception, which was reduced by arachnid antivenin (ArAv), local anaesthetics, opioids, acetaminophen and dipyrone, but not indomethacin. Boiling or dialysing the venom reduced the nociception induced by the venom. PNV-induced nociception is not dependent on glutamate or histamine receptors or on mast cell degranulation, but it is mediated by the stimulation of sensory fibres that contain serotonin 4 (5-HT4) and vanilloid receptors (TRPV1). We detected a kallikrein-like kinin-generating enzyme activity in tissue treated with PNV, which also contributes to nociception. Inhibition of enzymatic activity or administration of a receptor antagonist for kinin B2 was able to inhibit the nociception induced by PNV. PNV nociception was also reduced by the blockade of tetrodotoxin-sensitive Na+ channels, acid-sensitive ion channels (ASIC) and TRPV1 receptors. Conclusion/Significance Results suggest that both low- and high-molecular-weight toxins of PNV produce spontaneous nociception through direct or indirect action of kinin B2, TRPV1, 5-HT4 or ASIC receptors and voltage-dependent sodium channels present in sensory neurons but not in mast cells. Understanding the mechanisms involved in nociception caused by PNV are of interest not only for
Rix, Michael G; Cooper, Steven J B; Meusemann, Karen; Klopfstein, Seraina; Harrison, Sophie E; Harvey, Mark S; Austin, Andrew D
-plugging in transitional arid zone taxa have evolved twice independently in Western Australia, while in Misgolas and Cataxia, burrow door-building behaviours have likely been independently lost at least three times in the eastern Australian mesic zone. We also show that the presence of idiopids in New Zealand (Cantuaria) is likely to be the result of recent dispersal from Australia, rather than ancient continental vicariance. By providing the first comprehensive, continental synopsis of arid zone biogeography in an Australian arachnid lineage, we show that the diversification of arbanitine Idiopidae was intimately associated with climate shifts during the Neogene, resulting in multiple Mio-Pliocene radiations.
Strausfeld, Nicholas J; Ma, Xiaoya; Edgecombe, Gregory D; Fortey, Richard A; Land, Michael F; Liu, Yu; Cong, Peiyun; Hou, Xianguang
evolution of sessile eyes equipped with optics typical of extant xiphosurans. Observations of fossil material, including that of trilobites and eurypterids, support the proposition that the ancestral compound eye was the apposition type. Cambrian arthropods include possible precursors of mandibulate eyes. The latter are the modified compound eyes, now sessile, and their underlying optic lobes exemplified by scutigeromorph chilopods, and the mobile stalked compound eyes and more elaborate optic lobes typifying Pancrustacea. Radical divergence from an ancestral apposition type is demonstrated by the evolution of chelicerate eyes, from doublet sessile-eyed stem-group taxa to special apposition eyes of xiphosurans, the compound eyes of eurypterids, and single-lens eyes of arachnids. Different eye types are discussed with respect to possible modes of life of the extinct species that possessed them, comparing these to extant counterparts and the types of visual centers the eyes might have served.
Roy, Grégory; Wateau, Karine; Legrand, Mickaël; Oste, Sandrine
Several arthropods are natural predators of pests, and they are able to reduce and control their population development. FREDON Nord Pas-de-Calais (Federation Regionate de Defense contre les Organismes Nuisibles = Regional Federation for Pest Control) has begun for a long time to form farmers to the recognition of beneficial arthropods and to show them their usefulness. These beneficial insects or arachnids are present everywhere, in orchards and even in fields which are areas relatively poor in biodiversity. Adults feed in the flower strips instead larvae and some adults feed on preys such as aphids or caterpillars. Most of the time, beneficial insects can regulate pest but sometimes, in agricultural area, they can't make it early enough and efficiently. Their action begin too late and there biodiversity and number are too low. It's possible to enhance their action by manipulating the ecological infrastructures, like sewing flower strips or installing refuges. Flower strips increase the density of natural enemies and make them be present earlier in the field in order to control pests. Refuges permit beneficial's to spend winter on the spot. So they're able to be active and to grow in number earlier. From 2004 to 2007, on the one hand, FREDON Nord Pas-de-Calais has developed a research program. Its purpose was to inventory practices and also tools and means available and to judge the advisability of using such or such beneficial refuge in orchards. On the second hand, it studied the impact in orchard of refuges on population of beneficial's and the difference there were between manufactured refuges and homemade refuges. Interesting prospects were obtained with some of them. Otherwise, since 2003, FREDON has studied flower strips influence on beneficial population and their impact on pest control. In cabbage fields, results of trials have shown that flower strips lead to a reduction of aphid number under acceptable economic level, up to 50 meters from flower strips
Basili, M.; Cioci, C.; Cocco, S.; Agnelli, A.; di Peco, D.; Ferraris, P.; Corti, G.
The effects of the global climate change on the soil organic matter (SOM) are still open to debate. Many studies hypothesize an increase of the CO2 fluxes from the soil following the rise of air temperature, especially for the high latitude soils where the low temperatures have a protective effect on the SOM, holding the mineralization reactions back. We studied the feedback between soil and climate change in the Mediterranean environments, on patterned ground soils and soils developed from glacial lacustrine sediments found in the high-elevated areas (2500 m a.s.l.) of Majella massif (Central Apennines, Italy). Here, several profiles were opened and the soil described and sampled according to the recognized horizons. The samples were characterised according to the routine analyses and the SOM extracted according to the International Humic Substances Society protocol. The obtained humic and fulvic acids were characterised for elemental composition and by Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. Further, the basal respiration at 5°C, 20°C and 30°C for 20 days was determined on the samples collected from the superficial horizon of each soil. The extracted humic substances showed a particular composition, being mostly comprised of proteinaceous residues (amides II and III), polysaccarides, and esters and aliphatic compounds. This unusual chemical structure and the paucity of vegetation in the study area could support the hypothesis of a mainly soil animal origin of the SOM, probably due to residues of insects, arachnids and arthropods. In fact, the species belonging to these Orders are abundant in these ecosystems and, further, are often characterised by the presence of compounds, such as glycerine and glycoproteins, in their organic fluids that act as antifreezing systems. The basal respiration experiments indicated that the soil microbial community was active at 5°C, while at 20°C or 30°C rather no respiration occurred; further, after 20 days at both
Saxton, Heidi J; Goodman, James R; Collins, Jeffrey N; Black, Frank J
The transfer of mercury from females to their offspring plays an important role in mercury accumulation and toxicity during early development. To quantify the transfer of inorganic mercury and methylmercury from female arthropods to their eggs, the authors collected and analyzed brine shrimp (Artemia franciscana), wolf spiders (Alopecosa spp.), and their attached eggs from aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems at the Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA. Essentially all of the mercury in both the female brine shrimp and their eggs was methylmercury (94 ± 17% and 90 ± 21%, respectively). The brine shrimp eggs had methylmercury concentrations that were 84 ± 2% lower than in the females, reflecting the fact that females transferred 45 ± 4% of their total body mass but only 11 ± 3% of their methylmercury burden to their eggs. As a result of this sequestration, the concentration of methylmercury in the female brine shrimp increased by 62 ± 8% during egg formation. The percentage of the total mercury that was methylmercury in female wolf spiders (77 ± 21%) was similar to that in their egg masses (81 ± 19%), indicating similar maternal transfer efficiencies for inorganic mercury and methylmercury in these invertebrates. The concentration of inorganic mercury and methylmercury in the female spiders was the same as in their eggs. These arachnids transferred 48 ± 9% of their total body mass, 55 ± 13% of their inorganic mercury, and 50 ± 9% of their methylmercury to their egg masses. Thus, female wolf spiders do not have the ability to reduce the transfer of methylmercury to their eggs, nor does this process represent an important pathway for the depuration of mercury. The present study demonstrates that although some arthropods have mechanisms to minimize the transfer of methylmercury to their eggs and reduce the potential for mercury toxicity during early development, other arthropods do not.
Fagir, Dina M; El-Rayah, El-Amin
In this investigation on endoparasites (helminths) and ectoparasites of the Nile rat (Arvicanthis niloticus Desmarest, 1822), a total of 220 Nile rats were trapped from different regions of Sudan during the period January 2003-January 2006. Examination of different tissues, identification of parasites, effect of these parasites on the organs, the prevalence and intensity of infestation of the parasites and their relation to the habitat of the host, and sex-related infestations were considered. Results showed that the variation among helminth species was wide, especially in those that are transferred by arthropods. No protozoan parasites or distortion in the infected tissues were observed. No examination for Toxoplasma gondii was carried out. Two species of cestodes (Hymenolepis nana, Hymenolepis diminuta), two genera (Raillietina sp. I, Raillietina sp. II) and one unidentified Hymenolepididae were reported. The most prevalent species of cestodes was Raillietina sp. And for nematodes only one species and one genus were recovered (Monanema nilotica and Streptopharagus sp.). Investigation of skin revealed that 83.8% of rats were infested with one or more of ectoparasites; namely, insects and arachnids. This survey also revealed that fleas and lice were the most common ectoparasites that infested the Nile rat. Synanthropic rodents, particularly those living in close association with man, play a significant role in human health, welfare and economy. It has to be stressed that their arthropod ectoparasites are important vectors of pathogenic microorganisms and they can also be important reservoirs for parasitic zoonoses, like trichinellosis and capillariosis. No doubt, the increase in rodent populations could be followed by an increase in zoonotic diseases (Stojcevic et al. 2004, Durden et al. 2000). Rats and mice (commensal and wild) play an important role in public health, being carriers or reservoirs for infectious diseases that can be transmitted to humans (zoonoses
Hesler, Louis S
Soybean aphid (Aphis glycines Matsumura) (Hemiptera: Aphididae) is a major pest of soybean in northern production regions of North America, and insecticides have been the primary management approach while alternative methods are developed. Knowledge of arthropod natural enemies and their impact on soybean aphid is critical for developing biological control as a management tool. Soybean is a major field crop in South Dakota, but information about its natural enemies and their impact on soybean aphid is lacking. Thus, this study was conducted in field plots in eastern South Dakota during July and August of 2004 and 2005 to characterize foliar-dwelling, arthropod natural enemies of soybean aphid, and it used exclusion techniques to determine impact of natural enemies and ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on soybean aphid densities. In open field plots, weekly soybean aphid densities reached a plateau of several hundred aphids per plant in 2004, and peaked at roughly 400 aphids per plant in 2005. Despite these densities, a relatively high frequency of aphid-infested plants lacked arthropod natural enemies. Lady beetles (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) were most abundant, peaking at 90 and 52% of all natural enemies sampled in respective years, and Harmonia axyridis Pallas was the most abundant lady beetle. Green lacewings (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) were abundant in 2005, due mainly to large numbers of their eggs. Abundances of arachnids and coccinellid larvae correlated with soybean aphid densities each year, and chrysopid egg abundance was correlated with aphid density in 2005. Three-week cage treatments of artificially infested soybean plants in 2004 showed that noncaged plants had fewer soybean aphids than caged plants, but abundance of soybean aphid did not differ among open cages and ones that provided partial or total exclusion of natural enemies. In 2005, plants within open cages had fewer soybean aphids than those within cages that excluded natural enemies, and aphid
Cervini-Silva, J.; Fakra, S.; Alvarado-Ortega, J.; Cornejo-Garrido, H.; Marcus, M.; Hao, Z.; Espinosa-Arruberena, L.; Banfield, J.
The Tlayúa slurry constitutes the most important paleontological locality in the American continent, and constitutes the second most important locality in its genre worldwide. The importance of Tlayúa strives in the fact that a great diversity of marine and terrestrial fossils in perfect state of preservation have been found, with ages surpassing 115 million yrs. Paleomagnetic determinations and biostratigraphic determinations conducted in amonites and belemnites indicate that the formation of the Tlayúa slurry dates back to the late Albian. On the other hand, fish, reptiles, invertebrates, and vegetables fossil specimens have been found to date back to the Mesozoic Era. Because of this fact is unprecedented worldwide, Tlayúa is nowadays considered patrimony for the humanity. One of the most accepted hypothesis for explaining Tlayúa's formation relies on the deposition of sediments and fauna on a shallow platform of a tropical sea. A similar geographic place is located in Solenhofen, Germany, where slurries have been exploited for more than 200 yrs with a production of approximately 500 species. Remarkably, in the Tepexi del Rio region for the past 20 yrs more than 5,000 fossil specimens representing more than 200 species have been collected alone. An exceptional specimen preservation found in Tlayúa has been attributed to restricted circulation of water resulting in an anaerobic and/or hypersaline environment, coupled with the general absence of infaunal species. There were periods when the deposition site supported a rich planktontic community. Large quantities of calcareous ooze were produced, resulting in rapid burial of the organisms. The presence of diagnostic terrestrial and freshwater organisms, including arachnids, insects, lizards, and chelonians, along with typical marine fauna, suggests that Tlayúa lagoon had periodic freshwater inflow, in addition to the strong marine, lagoonal, and reefal influence. Some organisms were transported into the
Swanson, F. J.; Crisafulli, C.; Jones, J. A.; Lara, A.
The May 2008 eruption of Chaiten Volcano (Chile) offers many insights into volcano ecology -ecological responses to volcanic and associated hydrologic processes and ecosystem development in post-eruption landscapes. Varied intensities of pyroclastic density currents (PDC) and thickness of tephra fall deposits (to 50+ cm) created strong gradients of disturbance in several hundred square kilometers of native forest in a sector north to southeast from the volcano. A gradient from tree removal to toppled forest to standing, scorched forest extends 1.5 km northward from the caldera rim along the trajectory of a PDC. Close to the vent (e.g., 2 km NE from rim) a rain of ca. 10 cm of gravel tephra stripped foliage and twigs from tree canopies; farther away (23 km SE) 10 cm of fine tephra loaded the canopy, causing extensive fall of limbs >8 cm diameter. Even in the severely disturbed, north-flank PDC zone, surviving bamboo, ferns, and other herbs sprouted from pre-eruption soil and other refugia; sprouts of new foliage appeared on the boles and major limbs of several species of toppled and scorched, standing trees; animals including vertebrates (rodents and amphibians) and terrestrial invertebrates (e.g., insects and arachnids) either survived or quickly recolonized; and a diverse fungal community began decomposing the vast dead wood resource. During the second growing season we documented the presence of some plant species that had colonized by seed. Within two years after the eruption secondary ecological disturbances resulting from channel change and overbank deposition of fluvially transported tephra created new patches of damaged forest in riparian zones of streams draining the north flank and along the Rio Rayas and Rio Chaiten. These features parallel observations in the intensively-studied, post-1980-eruption landscape of Mount St. Helens over a similar time period. However, several aspects of ecological response to the two eruptions differ because of differences
Hanging above the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) - one of our closest galaxies - in what some describe as a frightening sight, the Tarantula nebula is worth looking at in detail. Also designated 30 Doradus or NGC 2070, the nebula owes its name to the arrangement of its brightest patches of nebulosity that somewhat resemble the legs of a spider. This name, of the biggest spiders on Earth, is also very fitting in view of the gigantic proportions of the celestial nebula - it measures nearly 1,000 light years across! ESO PR Photo 11/06 ESO PR Photo 13b/06 Tarantula's Central Cluster, R136 The Tarantula nebula is the largest emission nebula in the sky and also one of the largest known star-forming regions in all the Milky Way's neighbouring galaxies. Located about 170,000 light-years away, in the southern constellation Dorado (The Swordfish), it can be seen with the unaided eye. As shown in this image obtained with the FORS1 multi-mode instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope, its structure is fascinatingly complex, with a large number of bright arcs and apparently dark areas in between. Inside the giant emission nebula lies a cluster of young, massive and hot stars, denoted R 136, whose intense radiation and strong winds make the nebula glow, shaping it into the form of a giant arachnid. The cluster is about 2 to 3 million years old, that is, almost from 'yesterday' in the 13.7 billion year history of the Universe. Several of the brighter members in the immediate surroundings of the dense cluster are among the most massive stars known, with masses well above 50 times the mass of our Sun. The cluster itself contains more than 200 massive stars. ESO PR Photo 11/06 ESO PR Photo 13c/06 The Stellar Cluster Hodge 301 In the upper right of the image, another cluster of bright, massive stars is seen. Known to astronomers as Hodge 301, it is about 20 million years old, or about 10 times older than R136. The more massive stars of Hodge 301 have therefore already exploded as