Insects possess antennae equipped with a large number of segments (flagellomeres) on which sensory organs (sensilla) are located. Hemimetabolous insects grow by molting until they reach adulthood. In these species, the sensory structures develop and mature during each stage of development; new flagellomeres are generated at each molt elongating the antennae, and new sensilla appear. The praying mantis (Tenodera aridifolia) is a hemimetabolous insect with 7 different instars before it reaches adulthood. Because their antennae are provided with an atypical sensillar distribution, we previously suggested that their antennae develop with a different mechanism to other hemimetaboulous insect species. In the present study, we measured the number, length and width of flagellomeres along the antennae in nymph and adult mantis Tenodera aridifolia. For this study, we developed a new and innovative methodology to reconstruct the antennal development based on the length of flagellomeres. We observed and confirmed that the antennae of mantises develop with the addition of new segments at two distinct sites. In addition, we constructed a complete database of the features of the flagellum for each stage of development. From our data, we found that sexual dimorphism appears from the 6 instar (larger number and wider flagellomeres in males) in accordance with the appearance of their genital apparatus. The antennal sexual dimorphism completes at adulthood with longer flagellomeres and the emergence of a huge number of grooved peg sensilla in males during the last molting, which suggests once again their function as sex-pheromone receptive sensilla.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes