Indexed on: 27 May '08Published on: 27 May '08Published in: Arthropod Structure & Development
Ricinulei possess movable, slender pedipalps with small chelae. When ricinuleids walk, they occasionally touch the soil surface with the tips of their pedipalps. This behavior is similar to the exploration movements they perform with their elongated second legs. We studied the distal areas of the pedipalps of the cavernicolous Mexican species Pseudocellus pearsei with scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Five different surface structures are characteristic for the pedipalps: (1) slender sigmoidal setae with smooth shafts resembling gustatory terminal pore single-walled (tp-sw) sensilla; (2) conspicuous long, mechanoreceptive slit sensilla; (3) a single, short, clubbed seta inside a deep pit representing a no pore single walled (np-sw) sensillum; (4) a single pore organ containing one olfactory wall pore single-walled (wp-sw) sensillum; and (5) gustatory terminal pore sensilla in the fingers of the pedipalp chela. Additionally, the pedipalps bear sensilla which also occur on the other appendages. With this sensory equipment, the pedipalps are highly effective multimodal short range sensory organs which complement the long range sensory function of the second legs. In order to present the complete sensory equipment of all appendages of the investigated Pseudocellus a comparative overview is provided.