Ultrastructure of chemoreceptive tarsal sensilla in an armored harvestman and evidence of olfaction across Laniatores (Arachnida, Opiliones)

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Gainett, Guilherme
Michalik, Peter
Mueller, Carsten H. G.
Giribet, Gonzalo
Talarico, Giovanni
Willemart, Rodrigo H. [UNIFESP]
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Harvestmen (Arachnida, Opiliones) are especially dependent on chemical cues and are often regarded as animals that rely mainly on contact chemoreception. Information on harvestman sensilla is scarce when compared to other arachnid orders, especially concerning internal morphology. Using scanning (SEM) and transmission (TEM) electron microscopy, we investigated tarsal sensilla on the distal tarsomeres (DT) of all leg pairs in Heteromitobates discolor (Laniatores, Gonyleptidae). Furthermore, we explored the typological diversity of sensilla present on the DT I and II in members of the suborder Laniatores, which include two thirds of the formally described opilionid fauna, using species from 17 families representing all main laniatorian lineages. Our data revealed that DT I and II of H. discolor are equipped with wall pored falciform hairs (two types), wall-pored sensilla chaetica (two types) and tip-pored sensilla chaetica, while DT III and IV are mainly covered with trichomes (non-sensory) and tip-pored sensilla chaetica. The ultrastructural characteristics support an olfactory function for all wall-pored sensilla and a dual gustatory/mechanoreceptive function for tip-pored sensilla chaetica. Based on our comparative SEM survey, we show that wall-pored sensilla occur in all investigated Laniatores, demonstrating their widespread occurrence in the suborder and highlighting the importance of both legs I and II as the sensory appendages of laniatorean harvestmen. Our results provide the first morphological evidence for olfactory receptors in Laniatores and suggest that olfaction is more important for harvestmen than previously thought. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Arthropod Structure & Development. Oxford, v. 46, n. 2, p. 178-195, 2017.