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Sensilla ampullacea and sensilla coeloconica in the bull ant, Myrmecia pyriformis.

Sensilla ampullacea and sensilla coeloconica in the bull ant, Myrmecia pyriformis. (A) External structure of sensilla ampullacea (white arrows) and coeloconica (black arrow). (B) Cross-section through the antennal cuticle shows the peg of a sensillum coeloconicum within the chamber. (C) Detached ampoule of the sensillum ampullaceum reveals no porosity, but a single large opening (white arrow). (D) Micrograph of an uncoated specimen reveals the sensory peg within the enclosing ampoule of sensilla ampullacea (white arrow). (E) Cross-section through the cuticle shows a sensillum ampullaceum hanging within the antennal lumen by a slender tube (white arrow) connecting to the external opening. (F) Detached sensilla ampullacea showing opening for neural innervation (white arrow). Scale bars = 1 mm.

In an ant society, olfaction and mechanoreception plays a big role for communication, recruitment and for identifying nestmates from non-nestmates. An ant’s antennae is packed with a number of detectors, sensilla, that capture different kinds of information. While ant sensilla have been previously described, there have been huge discrepancies with sensilla often being misidentified or given different names. Together with Fiorella and Jochen, using high quality scanning electron microscope images we described a range of sensilla on the antennae of the the now famous bull ant, Myrmecia pyriformis. Given the inconsistent use of sensillum nomenclature and difficulties associated in reliable identification we consolidated the ant sensilla literature to make possible interspecific comparisons in the future.

Read more here: Esquivel FR, Zeil J & Narendra A. in press. The antennal sensory array of the nocturnal bull ant, Myrmecia pyriformisArthropod Structure and DevelopmentDOI: 10.1016/j.asd.2014.07.004

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