Antennal morphology, structure and sensilla distribution in Microplitis pallidipes (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)

Yan Gao, Li-Zhi Luo, Abner Hammond
Micron 2007, 38 (6): 684-93
Microplitis pallidipes (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) is an important larval parasitoid of noctuid larval pests. In this study, we describe the morphology, ultrastructure and distribution of sensilla on the antennae of both male and female adults using scanning electron microscopy; complemented with transmission electron microscopy. Observations determined that the antennae of M. pallidipes were threadlike and the flagella were composed of 16 sub-segments. Totally, there were six types of sensilla found on the antennae. They were identified as Sensilla trichodea, Sensilla chaetica, Sensilla basiconica type I, S. basiconica type II, Sensilla coeloconicum, and elongated Sensilla placodea, respectively. The S. trichodea were the most abundant sensilla and distributed over the entire antennae, while S. basiconica I and II, S. coeloconicum, and elongated S. placodea were limited to the flagellum. S. chaetica were found on the scape and pedicle in very low numbers. The S. basiconica II and elongated S. placodea walls were full of pores as evident in transmission electron micrographs. Though the shape and structure of antennae between male and female adults were not basically different, the length and width of the antennae on male wasps were significantly greater than that of females. Also, the number, size and density of S. placodea of the male were significantly greater than those of females. The morphology and structure of these sensilla were compared with that found in other braconid wasps. Their possible functions are discussed in light of previously published literature.

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