Ultrastructure of Phasmid Development in Meloidodera floridensis and M. charis (Heteroderinae)


  • L. K. Carta
  • J. G. Baldwin


Phylogenetic characters for Heteroderinae Luc. et al., 1988 are evaluated in Meloidodera which is believed to have primarily ancestral characters. Phasmid ultrastructure is observed in second-stage juveniles (J2), third-stage juvenile males, fourth-stage juvenile males, and fifth-stage males of Meloidodera floridensis and M. charis. Phasmid secretion occurs inside the egg before the J1-J2 molt. Before J2 hatch, concentric lamellar membranes occur within the sheath and socket cells. Some membranes become lamellae of the sheath cell plasma membrane; others become multilamellar bodies. During early molting, plasma membrane lamellae disappear and a distal dendrite segment appears in a rudimentary canal. After the molt, the distal dendrite is not present within the canal. The phylogenetic utility of phasmid features is discussed. In both species the ampulla shape and size between molts are stable features in juveniles and males. The posthatch J2 sheath cell receptor cavity may vary in a species specific manner, but comparative morphology requires precise timing after hatch. Key words: end apparatus, Heteroderinae, male development, Meloidoderafloridensis, Meloidodera charis, molting, multilamellar body, neuromorphology, phasmid, phylogeny, secretion, ultrastructure.