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Arthropod Struct Dev. 2008 Nov;37(6):504-10. doi: 10.1016/j.asd.2008.03.003. Epub 2008 May 1.

The antennal sensilla of the adult of Libellula depressa (Odonata: Libellulidae).

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Dipartimento di Biologia Cellulare e Ambientale, Via Elce di Sotto 1, 06123 Perugia, Italy.


An ultrastructural investigation (SEM, TEM) on the antennal flagellum of the adult of the dragonfly Libellula depressa (Odonata:Libellulidae) revealed sensilla located in pits on the lateral-ventral side of the antenna. These sensilla are represented by sensilla coeloconica and by deeply sunken sensilla. The sensilla coeloconica are innervated by three unbranched dendrites, which enter the peg and show a dendrite sheath ending at the base of the peg. The peg has no socket and its cuticle is irregular with wide pore-like structures at the base of which actual pores are visible. The structure of these coeloconic sensilla is in agreement with that reported for single-walled insect chemoreceptors. The deeply sunken sensilla are represented by two kinds of sensilla styloconica, named type-1 and type-2, located at the bottom of deep cavities appearing as simple openings on the antennal surface. These sensilla are no-pore sensilla with inflexible socket and unbranched dendrites and, notwithstanding their structural differences, share common features typical of thermo/hygroreceptors. The presence of chemoreceptors in adult dragonflies sheds light on evolutionary trends in insect perception; the previously unknown occurrence of thermo/hygroreceptors in dragonflies is very important in view of the reported ability of Odonata to thermoregulate heliothermically.

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