Antennal sensory structures in Scaphoideus titanus Ball (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae)

Marco Valerio Rossi Stacconi, Roberto Romani
Microscopy Research and Technique 2012, 75 (4): 458-66
Scaphoideus titanus Ball (Hemiptera: Cicadomorpha) is a leafhopper vector of a phytoplasma disease, the Flavescence dorée (FD), belonging to the vine yellows group. A scanning and transmission electron microscope study has been carried out to investigate the antennal sensory structures. The first two segments, the scape and the pedicel, are short, covered by cuticular scales and devoid of sensilla, with exception of some scattered hairs on the pedicel. The flagellum consists of a unique, elongated segment in which numerous subunits can be recognized, being separated by a sort of cuticular crown. The proximal five subunits bear most of the sensilla. We discovered the presence of single- and double-walled coeloconic sensilla, campaniform sensilla, basiconic sensilla, and trichoid sensilla. A scolopidium is located within the proximal region of the flagellum. Ultrastructural investigations suggest that the antennal sensilla could be involved in the perception of air-borne vibrations, temperature, and humidity variations. The most relevant feature is the extreme reduction of the olfactory sensilla, both in terms of number of sensory structures and sensory neurons per sensillum. The strong reduction in antennal olfactory sensilla to which this specie has undergone is discussed as possible consequence of the specificity toward the host plant.

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