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Zoology (Jena). 2012 Jun;115(3):142-50. doi: 10.1016/j.zool.2011.10.006. Epub 2012 May 2.

Contact behaviour of setal tips in the hairy attachment system of the fly Calliphora vicina (Diptera, Calliphoridae): a cryo-SEM approach.

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Department of Functional Morphology and Biomechanics, Zoological Institute, University of Kiel, Am Botanischen Garten 1-9, D-24098 Kiel, Germany.


The fly Calliphora vicina (Diptera, Calliphoridae) bears attachment pads (pulvilli) covered with setae on their ventral sides. These structures enable attachment to smooth vertical surfaces and ceilings. The contact between the terminal setal tips (spatulae) and various substrates was visualised using various experimental techniques combined with conventional scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and cryo-SEM. The results show that the setal endplates are highly flexible structures that form contact with the surface by bending their tips in the distal direction. With conventional SEM, a comparison of partly attached endplates with unattached endplates demonstrated the presence of a distinct marginal bulge. As observed with cryo-SEM, the bulge continuously disappeared as a larger area of the endplate came into contact. Two explanations of this result are suggested. First, the volume between the bulge, the mid-part of the endplate and the substrate may be filled with a fluid secretion that is released into the contact area in the endplate region. Second, the flexible central part of the endplate may jump into contact with the substrate during contact formation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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