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Antennal sensillar equipment in closely related predatory wasp species (Hymenoptera: Philanthinae) hunting for different prey types

Other TitlesÉquipement sensoriel des antennes dans des espèces proches de guêpes prédateurs (Hymenoptera: Philanthinae), qui chassent des proies différentes
AuthorsPolidori, Carlo ; Jorge García, Alberto ; Nieves-Aldrey, J. L.
Sensilla size
Comparative morphology
Prey selection
Issue DateApr-2012
CitationComptes Rendus Biologies 335(4): 279-291 (2012)
AbstractDespite its potential value in phylogenetic and ecological studies, the morphology of antennal sensilla has rarely been compared quantitatively within the Apoidea. Here, through a scanning electron microscopy analysis, we provide an inventory of different types of antennal sensilla and compare their morphology across 10 species of predatory wasps (Crabronidae: Philanthinae) including species that hunt exclusively either on beetles or on bees to feed their larvae. A sensilla-free area was found on the apical flagellomer of all but two species, and its shape and size appear to be useful for separating Philanthini from Cercerini within the subfamily. A total of eight types of sensilla (sensilla placoidea, sensilla basiconica, two types of pit organs, sensilla coelocapitula and three types of sensilla trichoidea) were found in all species, and an additional rarer type (grooved peg sensilla) was found only in three bee-hunting species and for first time in the genus Cerceris. Certain morphological features confirmed the separation of the apoid wasps from the rest of the Apoidea (i.e., bees). A cluster analysis based on the sizes of the different types of sensilla suggested that, overall, sensilla morphology is not a useful taxonomic tool, and thus, other factors likely determine interspecific variability. One candidate factor is the prey type, given some differences in the presence, density, size and distribution of certain types of olfactory sensilla between beetle-hunters and bee-hunters. This hypothesis needs to be further tested quantitatively using a larger species set, more individuals per species, additional sensilla features, and a correction for phylogeny.
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