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Chem Senses. 2014 May;39(4):283-94. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjt114. Epub 2014 Jan 17.

Comparative neuroanatomy of the antennal lobes of 2 homopteran species.

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Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Perugia University, Perugia 74-06121, Italy.


We compared the morphology of the primary olfactory center, the antennal lobe (AL), in 2 homopteran insects, Hyalesthes obsoletus Signoret (Homoptera: Cixiidae) and Scaphoideus titanus Ball (Homoptera: Cicadomorpha). The comparison between the ALs of the 2 species is particularly interesting considering that, although both use volatile cues to locate their host plants, their feeding behavior differs considerably: specifically, H. obsoletus is a highly polyphagous species, whereas S. titanus is strictly monophagous (on grapevine). Our investigation of the AL structure using immunocytochemical staining and antennal backfills did not reveal any sexual dimorphism in either the size of the ALs or in the size of individual glomeruli for either species. Instead, the AL of H. obsoletus displayed numerous and well-delineated glomeruli (about 130 in both sexes) arranged in a multilayered structure, whereas the smaller AL of S. titanus contained fewer than 15 glomerular-like structures. This difference is likely to reflect the comparatively reduced olfactory abilities in S. titanus, probably as a consequence of the reduced number of volatiles coming from the single host plant. Instead, in H. obsoletus, the ability to distinguish among several host plants may require a more complex olfactory neuronal network.


Hyalesthes obsoletus; Scaphoideus titanus; antennal lobe; confocal microscopy; glomeruli; olfaction

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