Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary The internal and external structure of the galeae of the adult red turnip beetle, Entomoscelis americana, was studied using SEM and TEM. The galea broadens from base to truncated tip and its sides are of thick, sculpted cuticle invested with pores and coarse spines. The tip is of thinner, flexible cuticle covered with 8–12 uniporous, blunt-tipped apical pegs and a single, aporous, sharply-pointed apical hair. The coarse spines are singly innervated probable mechanosensilla owing to the tubular body at the distal end of the dendrite. These sensilla likely act as tactile hairs monitoring galeal-effected movements of food particles into the functional mouth. The pores are associated with glands within the galea. The function of the presumed secretion is not known but may be to keep objects and dried saliva from sticking to the mouthparts. The apical pegs are innervated by five neurons, each producing a single dendrite. Four dendrites enter the single peg lumen and communicate with the terminal pore. The fifth differentiates into a tubular body that inserts into the peg base. These are typical insect contact chemosensilla that, because of their location, would taste incoming food. The apical hair has no pores but is innervated by two neurons, each extending a dendrite into the hair lumen in chemosensillar fashion. The sensory mode of this sensillum is unknown but is probably not mechanoor chemoreception. Many of its features, reminiscent of taste hairs, lead us to hypothesize that it represents a one-time chemosensillum recently modified to a new form and sensory mode. Because larval and adult E. americana share similar food plant requirements, we hypothesize that similarities will be seen in their mouthpart sensilla. Comparisons of the adults and larvae show the common features between their respective galeal taste hairs are only those of insect contact chemosensilla in general. However, the adult apical hair and the larval medial sensillum show striking specific structural similarities. We propose that these are true structural and functional homologues.
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