Antennal glands of the slave-making ant Polyergus rufescens and its slave species Formica cunicularia (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)

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Abstract:

The fine morphology of glandular structures associated with the antennae is reported for the first time in a social parasite ant, the obligate slave-maker Polyergus rufescens (Latreille, 1798). In this species, external pores have been detected through scanning electron microscopy only on the scape of the female castes (queen and worker). Each pore is associated internally with a bicellular secretory unit by means of a cuticular duct. The number of secretory cells appears to be higher in queens than in workers. Similar exocrine structures have been found also in workers of Formica cunicularia Latreille, 1798, a common host species of P. rufescens. The possible functional role of this gland is discussed.

Nous présentons pour la première fois la morphologie fine des structures glandulaires associées à l'antenne chez une fourmi parasite sociale, l'esclavagiste obligatoire Polyergus rufescens (Latreille, 1798). Chez cette espèce, on trouve au microscope électronique à balayage des pores externes seulement sur le scape des castes femelles (reine et ouvrière). Chaque pore est relié à l'intérieur à une unité sécrétrice bicellulaire par un conduit cuticulaire. Le nombre de cellules sécrétrices semble être plus élevé chez les reines que chez les ouvrières. Des structures exocrines semblables se retrouvent aussi chez les ouvrières de Formica cunicularia Latreille, 1798, une espèce-hôte commune de P. rufescens. Le rôle fonctionnel possible de cette glande fait l'objet d'une discussion.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2006

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