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Evol Dev. 2012 Jul;14(4):383-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-142X.2012.00556.x.

The delineation of the fourth walking leg segment is temporally linked to posterior segmentation in the mite Archegozetes longisetosus (Acari: Oribatida, Trhypochthoniidae).

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1
Department of Zoology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA.

Abstract

Acari (mites and ticks) lack external segmentation, with the only indication of segmentation being the appendages of the prosoma (chelicerae, pedipalps, and four pairs of walking legs). Acari also have a mode of development in which the formation of the fourth walking leg is suppressed until the nymphal stages, following a hexapodal larva. To determine the number of segments in the posterior body region (opisthosoma) of mites, and to also determine when the fourth walking leg segment is delineated during embryogenesis, we followed the development of segmentation in the oribatid mite Archegozetes longisetosus using time-lapse and scanning electron microscopy, as well as in situ hybridizations of the A. longisetosus orthologues of the segmentation genes engrailed and hedgehog. Our data show that A. longisetosus patterns only two opisthosomal segments, indicating a large degree of segmental fusion or loss. Also, we show that the formation of the fourth walking leg segment is temporally tied to opisthosomal segmentation, the first such observation in any arachnid.

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