Gerd Alberti; Jacek Dabert:

Fine Structure of the Feather Mite Falculifer rostratus (Buchholz 1869) (Acari, Falculiferidae)

Gnathosoma, Digestive System and Supracoxal Glands

2012. 150 pages, 88 figures, 23x31cm, 870 g
Language: English

(Zoologica, Heft 158)

ISBN 978-3-510-55045-6, paperback, price: 154.00 €

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acarifeather mite


Synopsis top ↑

The authors present the first detailed and superbly illustrated study of the fine structure of the feather mite Falculifer rostratus. In particular its mouthparts are described and discussed under functional and comparative aspects. Falculifer rostratus was first described by the Greifswaldian Zoologist Reinhold Buchholz in 1869 (under the name Dermaleichus rostratus) from the plumage of the stock pigeon Columba oenas. F. rostratus later became the type species of the family Falculiferidae which comprises 14 genera and about 45 species living exclusively in the plumage of columbiform birds. These mites belong to a large assemblage of astigmatid mites (Astigmata, Acari) of more than 2500 known species, called feather mites.

Although feather mites are observed on almost all bird species as putative paraphages or parasites, their biology and internal morphology is poorly known. In this context the bimorphism of males occurring in this species, the heteromorphs carrying sickle-shaped chelicerae (hence the generic name), is also discussed. For the first time, the fine structure of sensory organs of all gnathosomal parts of a mite is studied and described using scanning and transmission electron microscopy. The new findings advance our knowledge of one of the key-characters of Acari, the gnathosoma. A second contribution describes the digestive tract in full, revealing its organization into distinct parts characterised by distinct cell types. Occasionally, peculiar microsporidian parasites in the midgut of a female mite were discovered for the first time. Finally, the supracoxal glands, characteristic of astigmatid mites and previously only poorly understood in terms of their very complex structure and putative function, are thoroughly treated here.

Numerous fine structural details are revealed, among them peculiar muscle attachment sites, microtubule-like elements in certain sensory organs, and very specific extrusion poles of the supracoxal glands; these new findings may be of general relevance to students of animal fine-structure.

This volume is of great relevance to biologists studying arthropod structure, in particular to acarologists and arachnologists. However, also parasitologists, microbiologists, ornithologists and researchers interested in host-parasite-coevolution will find stimulating new data.

Table of Contents top ↑

General Introduction 1
Part 1: Gnathosoma with remarks on the sensory system
Abstract 3
Introduction 3
Material and methods 4
Results 4
Gnathosoma of larva, tritonymph, homeomorph
male and female 4
General aspects and external morphology 4
Cuticular structures and muscles 5
Infracapitulum 13
Chelicerae 17
Innervation and sensory structures 18
Infracapitulum and pedipalps 21
Chelicerae 23
Pharynx 23
Gnathosoma of the heteromorph male 25
Discussion 25
Cuticular structures and muscles 29
Innervation and sensory elements 39
Acknowledgements 45
References 73
Part 2: Digestive system with remarks on the fat body
and microsporidian parasites
Abstract 76
Introduction 76
Material and methods 76
Results 76
General organization 76
Fore gut 78
Preoral cavity, mouth and pharynx 78
Esophagus 81
Midgut 84
Ventriculus 84
Caeca 91
Colon 91
Intercolon 93
Postcolon 93
Hindgut 98
Anal atrium 98
Anal canal 100
Anal opening 100
Food materials 100
Parasites 102
Fat body 102
Discussion 105
Acknowledgements 121
References 121
Part 3: Supracoxal glands
Abstract 124
Introduction 124
Material and methods 125
Results 125
The large supracoxal gland unit 125
The small supracoxal gland unit (acinous gland) 129
The ducts 131
Discussion 131
Acknowledgements 147
References 149