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Klaus Schönitzer and Gerwig Lawitzky (1987)

A phylogenetic study of the antenna cleaner in Formicidae, Mutillidae, and Tiphiidae (Insecta, Hymenoptera)

Zoomorphology, 107(5):273-285.

SummaryThe morphology of the tibio-tarsal antenna cleaner (strigilis) of 30 species of Formicidae, 14 species of Mutillidae and 9 species of Tiphiidae was investigated and is described comparatively. In Formicidae, there is a common type of strigilis. The spur has a posterior-dorsal comb and its anterior side is covered with squamae, which usually form a brush. Posteriorly, the basitarsal notch bears a comb and anteriorly specialized paddle-shaped hairs. These characters may be apomorphic for Formicidae. In several Ponerinae and in Myrmecia there is also a velum on the spur. In two species of ants which are strongly parasitic (Teleutomyrmex schneideri and Anergates atratulus ♂) there are reduced antenna cleaners. Mutillidae (except Myrmosa) have another common type of strigilis: the spur bears a velum with a smooth rim and a clear apex with two rows of teeth. The notch in the basitarsus is usually deeper than that of ants; there is a comb, but no paddle-shaped hairs. The strigilis of Myrmosa females has no velum but there are two prominent rows of teeth on the spur. In the male, the velum is reduced to a slender strip. In Tiphiidae the antenna cleaners show considerable diversity. In Methocha the spur bears a comb but no velum; the spur of Tiphia has a velum with a serrated rim; the spur of Myzinum is equipped with a velum with a smooth rim; in Thynnus the surface of the velum is wrinkled or undulating. An apex (without teeth) is present in all investigated Tiphiidae. The notch of the basitarsus bears a comb except in female Myzinum, where the teeth seem to have fused, thus forming a rim. It is suggested that a velum with a serrated or toothed edge and an apex with two rows of teeth are plesiomorphic for aculeate Hymenoptera. The antenna cleaners in Mutillidae are remarkably similar to those in some bees. This fact is interpreted as partly due to convergence and as partly symplesiomorphic. In several species of ants, there is a specialized cuticular area (“bande poreuse”) anterior to the comb of the notch, which is characterized by fissures or holes. These are presumably openings of an excretory gland.

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