The eversible tentacle organs of Polyommatus caterpillars (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae ): Morphology, fine structure, sensory supply and functional aspects.

Gnatzy, W., Jatho, M., Kleinteich, T., Gorb, S. and Hustert, R. (2017) The eversible tentacle organs of Polyommatus caterpillars (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae ): Morphology, fine structure, sensory supply and functional aspects. Arthropod Structure & Development, 46 (6). pp. 788-804. DOI 10.1016/j.asd.2017.10.003.

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In their late (3rd and 4th) larval stages, caterpillars of the myrmecophilous lycaenid (Lepidoptera) species Polyommatus coridon and Polyommatus icarus, possess on their 8th abdominal segment two eversible so called tentacle organs (TOs). Previous histological and behavioural results have proposed that the TOs may release a volatile substance that elicits “excited runs” in attendant ants. In our study we investigated for the first time the temporal in- and eversion pattern of TOs. Using nerve tracing, Micro-CT, light- and electron microscopy techniques we studied (i) the histology of the 8th abdominal segment, (ii) the fine structure of the cuticular and cellular apparatus of the TOs, (iii) the attachment sites of the retractor muscle of each TO and (iv) the fine structure of the long slender tentacle hairs which are exposed to the outside, when the TOs are everted and fold back into the TO-sac during inversion. Our data show that the tentacle hairs are typical insect mechanoreceptors, each innervated by a small bipolar sensory cell with a tubular body in the tip of the outer dendritic segment. The latter is enclosed by a cuticular sheath previously called the “internal cuticular duct” and misinterpreted in earlier studies as the space, where the tentacle hairs actively secrete fluids. However, we found no glandular structures nearby or in the wall of the TO-sac. Also we did not reveal any conspicuous signs of secretory activity in one of the enveloping cells belonging to a tentacle hair. Although highly unusual features for an insect mechanoreceptor are: (a) the hair-shaft lumen of tentacle hairs contains flocculent material as well small vesicles and (b) the thin cuticular wall of the hair-shaft and its spines possess few tiny pores. Our data do not support the assumption of previous studies that volatile substances are released via the tentacle organs during their interactions with ants which in turn are supposed to cause excited runs in ants.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Tentacle organ, Morphology, Tentacle motion, Mechanoreceptors, Sensilla, Ultrastructure, Polyommatus icarus, Polyommatus coridon
Research affiliation: Kiel University > Kiel Marine Science
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.asd.2017.10.003
ISSN: 1467-8039
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2017 09:42
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2019 13:41

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