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Appendage development in embryos of the oribatid mite Archegozetes longisetosus (Acari, Oribatei, Trhypochthoniidae)

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The development of reliable techniques to provide large numbers of fixed mite embryos free of their tough membranes has allowed us to produce scanning electron micrographs of oribatid embryos for the first time. Antibody staining for expression of the gene Distal-less demonstrates the formation of the labrum from a pair of regions in the ocular lobes, indicating a possible appendicular origin for the labrum. The chelicerae are followed from their initial postoral position through their anterior rotation to become preoral. The pedipalpal lobe, involved in the formation of the gnathosoma, is shown to be almost the size of the pedipalp at some stages, as well as expressing Distal-less. The fourth pair of walking limbs are not present in oribatid prelarvae and larvae, however, their anlage are visible in later embryonic stages but these do not express the gene Distal-less, suggesting that formation of distal structures is suppressed at this stage. Clapar├Ęde’s organs, present between coxae of legs I and II of larvae, are shown for the first time unequivocally to derive from the base of legs II. These are proposed to be homologous to the lateral organs of other arachnid groups.

Keywords: Arthropoda; Distal-less; chelicerate development; labum; oribatid mite embryology

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1463-6395.1999.00016.x

Affiliations: Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, UK

Publication date: August 1, 1999

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