Klein, Marie-Christin G; Deuschle, Julia K; Gorb, Stanislav N
On the basis of structural data, it has been previously assumed that the integument of snakes consists of a hard, robust, inflexible outer surface (Oberhäutchen and beta-layer) and soft, flexible inner layers (alpha-layers). The aim of this study was to compare material properties of the outer and inner scale layers of the exuvium of Gongylophis colubrinus, to relate the structure of the snake integument to its mechanical properties. The nanoindentation experiments have demonstrated that the outer scale layers are harder, and have a higher effective elastic modulus than the inner scale layers. The results obtained provide strong evidence about the presence of a gradient in the material properties of the snake integument. The possible functional significance of this gradient is discussed here as a feature minimizing damage to the integument during sliding locomotion on an abrasive surface, such as sand.
The new genus Dastychius has been instituted for the species Isohypsibius improvisus Dastych, 1984. It has claws of the Isohypsibius type, rigid buccal tube without ventral lamina and with ridge-shaped apophyses for the insertion of the stylet muscles; peribuccal lamellae absent; peribuccal papulae seem to be present but the datum should be confirmed; pharyngeal bulb with apophyses and placoids, lunules present in the known species; smooth eggs laid in the exuvium. The apophyses for the insertion of the stylet muscles have some peculiarities that justify the institution of a new genus. They are long, uninterrupted ridges tailing off caudally almost reaching the stylet supports; at almost a quarter of their length they have an incision and a septum never noted in other genera of Eutardigrada. In the author's opinion it is possible to hypothesize that all the structures for the insertion of the stylet muscles recognizable in the Eutardigrada may be derived from long ridge-shaped apophyses (but without incision and septum). The comparison of the shape of the apophyses for the insertion of the stylet muscles in the Eutardigrada seems to indicate that this character has taxonomic value at level of genus but not at family level.
Kakkar, Garima; Chouvenc, Thomas; Su, Nan-Yao
In termites, it is challenging to recognize the incidence of molting in workers because of their successive stationary molt, asynchronous molting among individuals, cryptic behavior, a soft and poorly sclerotized cuticle, and they immediately consume the shed exuvia of nestmates. This study describes a method in which the degree of sclerotization of the mouthparts in newly molted workers of the Formosan subterranean termite can be quantified and used to determine if an individual has recently molted, within a 36-h time frame. Changes in the tanning of mouthparts over time were used as a measure of the index of sclerotization in workers postmolting. Upon ecdysis, the primary point of articulation of the mandible already initiated sclerotization, which may allow the movement of the mandibles during the shedding of the exuvium. The sclerotization of the secondary point of articulation and the mandibular teeth, and the width of sclerotization of the mandibles, progressively increased until reaching a plateau around 36-h postecdysis, which imply that workers can regain some level of activity as early as 2 d after ecdysis. Our observations allowed for the determination of variables for the sclerotization of the mouthparts to easily identify workers that recently molted, and this method will be useful in future studies that focus on the molting activity of workers over time and space within a termite colony, in the scope of improving current control strategies for termite pests.
Zawierucha, Krzysztof; Dziamięcki, Jakub; Jakubowska, Natalia; Michalczyk, Lukasz; Kaczmarek, Lukasz
In sixteen moss, lichen and mixed (moss/lichen) samples, collected from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, 291 specimens, 48 simplexes, including one exuvium with 6 eggs, and 8 free-laid eggs of eutardigrades were found. In total, 17 species, together with one new to science, were identified (all are new records for the Baltic states): Astatumen bartosi, Diphascon (Adropion) prorsirostre, D. (Diphascon) bullatum, D. (D.) pingue pingue, D. (D.) recamieri, D. (D.) rugosum, Hypsibius convergens, H. dujardini, H. cf. scabropygus, Isohypsibius ronsisvallei, I. sattleri, Macrobiotus harmsworthi harmsworthi, M. hufelandi hufelandi, Milnesium asiaticum, Milnesium tardigradum tardigradum, Minibiotus formosus sp. n. and Paramacrobiotus richtersi. The new species is most similar to Minibiotus gumersindoi, but differs from it mainly by the presence of two types of cuticular pores, the absence of a triangular or pentagonal arrangement of pores above a single large pore on legs, the presence of granulation on all legs and a different macroplacoid length sequence. In this paper we also provide photographs and morphometrics of H. cf. scabropygus.
Parras, Matías Ariel; Rosa, Juan Ramón; Szelag, Enrique Alejandro; Salomón, Oscar Daniel
The aim of this work was to identify the natural breeding sites of sandflies in the province of Chaco, Argentina, for the first time. Preliminary studies were conducted in two different phytogeographic regions: dry Chaco (Parque Provincial Pampa del Indio), in January 2010, and humid Chaco (Resistencia, Margarita Belén and Colonia Benítez), from May-September 2010. A total of 127 samples were collected (Pampa del Indio: 15, Resistencia: 37, Margarita Belén: 36, Colonia Benítez: 39). A female of Migonemyia migonei was found in Pampa del Indio at the base of a bromeliad in the summer (January) and a pupal exuvium of a phlebotomine fly was found in Resistencia, in a place where dogs rested, in the winter (July). These findings highlighted these two sites as potential breeding sites. Because the existence of potential natural breeding sites for sandflies has been demonstrated in both forest and periurban areas, expanding the search efforts and characterising these sites will enable the development of specific study designs to gain insight into the spatial distribution of the risks posed by these vectors. The resulting information will serve as a basis for proposing and evaluating vector control measures.
A new genus and species of Nanaloricidae (Loricifera), Phoeniciloricus simplidigitatus, is described inhabiting fine sand covered by a layer of volcanic ash at a water depth of 1,813 m in the New Ireland Basin near the Kilinailau Trench (north of Papua New Guinea). The described specimen is a postlarva enclosed in a larval exuvium. This is the first report of a species belonging to the Nanaloricidae from the deep sea. This occurrence is surprising, because Nanaloricidae are typical inhabitants of coarse sands in the intertidal or littoral zone. Preference for these shallow water habitats is reflected in many morphological features which characterize the Nanaloricidae, and are not normally found in Loricifera inhabiting fine-grained, clayish, deep-sea bottoms. The postlarva of the new species is characterized by a long narrow mouth tube, an urn-shaped lorica divided into ten plates, and 13 small lorica spikes. Distinguishing features of the Higgins-larva include short spinose toes lacking mucros but having small and slightly enlarged bases, short scalids on the introvert, many thoracic plates arranged in 6-8 rows, numerous small papillate flosculi in the collar and caudal regions, and three pairs of filiform, short locomotory appendages on the ventral side. Some features of the new species, especially of the Higgins-larva, are discussed as adaptations to the deep-sea environment.
Chetverikov, Philipp E; Desnitskiy, Alexey G
The embryonic development of four eriophyoid mite species, Cecidophyopsis ribis, Phytoptus avellanae, Oziella liroi and Loboquintus subsquamatus, has been studied with the use of fluorochrome DAPI and confocal microscopy. The first three nuclear divisions occur on the egg periphery (the groups of 2, 4, and 6 nuclei have been recorded), while the biggest part of yolk remains undivided. After four or five nuclear divisions all nuclei are situated only in one sector of the embryo, while other sectors contain only yolk suggesting possible meroblastic cleavage. Later, the formation of superficial blastoderm takes place. A few large yolk cells are situated inside the embryo. Germ band formation initiates as funnel-like cell invagination and leads to formation of a typical stage with four paired prosomal buds (chelicerae, palps, legs I and II). Each palp contains two lobes (anterior and posterior), the adult subcapitulum is presumably a fusion product of the anterior pair of the lobes. Neither rudiments of legs III and IV, traces of opisthosomal segments nor remnants of the prelarval exuvium under the egg shell were detected. Overall, the pattern of embryonic development in eriophyoids re-emphasizes the peculiarity of this ancient group of miniaturized phytoparasitic animals, and invites researches to pursue a deeper investigation of various fundamental aspects of this aberrant group of Acari. Further studies using various fluorescent dyes and transmission electron microscopy are needed to visualize plasma membranes and clarify the pattern of early cleavage of eriophyoids.
Noh, Mi Young; Kramer, Karl J; Muthukrishnan, Subbaratnam; Beeman, Richard W; Kanost, Michael R; Arakane, Yasuyuki
Yellow protein (dopachrome conversion enzyme, DCE) is involved in the melanin biosynthetic pathway that significantly accelerates pigmentation reactions in insects. Recent studies have suggested that the insect yellow genes represent a rapidly evolving gene family generating functionally diverse paralogs, but the exact physiological functions of several yellow genes are still not understood. To study the function(s) of one of the yellow genes, yellow-e (TcY-e), in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, we performed real-time PCR to analyze its developmental and tissue-specific expression, and utilized immunohistochemistry to identify the localization of the TcY-e protein in adult cuticle. Injection of double-stranded RNA for TcY-e (dsTcY-e) into late instar larvae had no effect on larval-pupal molting or pupal development. The pupal cuticle, including that lining the setae, gin traps and urogomphi, underwent normal tanning. Adult cuticle tanning including that of the head, mandibles and legs viewed through the translucent pupal cuticle was initiated on schedule (pupal days 4-5), indicating that TcY-e is not required for pupal or pharate adult cuticle pigmentation in T. castaneum. The subsequent pupal-adult molt, however, was adversely affected. Although pupal cuticle apolysis and slippage were evident, some of the adults (~25%) were unable to shed their exuvium and died entrapped in their pupal cuticle. In addition, the resulting adults rapidly became highly desiccated. Interestingly, both the failure of the pupal-adult molt and desiccation-induced mortality were prevented by maintaining the dsTcY-e-treated insects at 100% relative humidity (rh). However, when the high humidity-rescued adults were removed from 100% rh and transferred to 50% rh, they rapidly dehydrated and died, whereas untreated beetles thrived throughout development at 50% rh. We also observed that the body color of the high humidity-rescued dsTcY-e-adults was slightly darker than that of