The structure and function of the tarsus I sensillar field in mites of the genusHalarachne(Halarachnidae: Gamasida)

The sensillar field on tarsus I of Halarachne (Halarachnidae: Gamasida), a respiratory tract endoparasite of seals (Pinnipedia) is associated with 12 hair- or peg-like receptor sensilla in the larva and 13 or 14 in the adult. These include thermo-hygroreceptors, each with a double wall traversed by 3 or 4 slit-like pores (dw/WP-sensilla), olfactory chemoreceptors of small inorganic molecules, each with a single wall spanned by several small and simple pores (sw/WP-sensilla), gustatory chemoreceptors with a single terminal pore (TP-sensilla), and aporous NP-sensilla which have thermoreceptive and/or other unknown functions. Some sensilla are sessile and others socketed, the latter having a possible additional/alternative mechanoreceptive function. One mechanoreceptor is a probable trichobothrium-like vibration receptor which has not been previously described in the Anactinotrichida. This range of sensilla combined with the absence of sw/WP-sensilla, i.e. olfactory chemoreceptors covered with numerous, large centrally-plugged pores, suggests that although Halarachne spp. can locate large endothermic animals, they lack the ability to discriminate between different species.


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Authors: Pugh, P.J.A.

1 January, 1996
Journal of Natural History / 30
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