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Morphology of the metapleural gland and its associated novel atrial cone gland in Strumigenys ants

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

The metapleural gland is a unique feature of the ant phenotype, but diversity in its anatomy and function across the ants is not well documented or understood. We studied the morphology of the metapleural gland in 20 mainly Oriental Strumigenys species using histology, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, and micro-CT. The gland is formed by a cluster of class-3 cells, their secretion is transported through a bundle of ducts into the sclerotized atrium and is guided along a series of parallel cuticular ridges towards the atrial opening. Among the examined species, queens have more gland cells than conspecific workers, while the examined males do not have the gland. The social parasite S. mutica has the most developed metapleural gland. In addition, we describe a novel class-1 atrial cone gland which is associated with the metapleural gland. The epithelium of this cone gland forms an invagination into the ventral atrium of the metapleural gland. The cuticular cone may be lacking in some Afrotropical and Neotropical species, although these may still contain the epithelial gland. The functional and evolutionary drivers of morphological variation in the exocrine system across species form interesting questions for future work.
Tijdschrift: Micron
ISSN: 0968-4328
Volume: 171
Jaar van publicatie:2023
Toegankelijkheid:Open