Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
A study of the integument of the aquatic mite Arrenurus major Marshall is presented. When the cuticle is examined with the unaided eye and the light microscope, it appears to possess numerous tiny pits. However, scanning electron micrographs of the cuticle reveal that it is a solid surface with topographical sculpturing of the epicuticle, indicating that the “pits” are an internal phenomenon. In cuticle which has been sectioned, areas devoid of cuticular material beneath the thin exocuticle are revealed. These areas are the pits which are goblet-shaped.The integument consists of five major strata. These are from the outside to the inside: (1) a superficial layer with a maximum observed thickness of 725 Å, (2) an epicuticle with a thickness of about 900 Å and composed of at least four sublayers, (3) an exocuticle with a thickness of about 1.5 Å. Fibers of the exocuticle are arranged in a Bouligand pattern and exhibit a regularly occurring discontinuity with a spacing of 200 Å. (4) An endocuticle ranging from 15 to 20 μ in thickness. The endocuticle is characterized by bandings which superficially resemble the lamellae of insects but are not homologous, microfibers which exhibit a preferred orientation, and the presence of the pits; and (5) an epidermis lying beneath the endocuticle and extending into the pits.Pore canals are present only in the exocuticle and have their origin at the apices of the pits. The pore canals contain a central filament, and a plug is present just beneath the epicuticle.
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