Members of the family Meloidae are known to produce cantharidin, a highly toxic monoterpene found in their hemolymph and exuded as droplets capable of deterring many predators. As a nuptial gift, males transfer large amounts of cantharidin to females via a spermatophore, which is formed by specific accessory glands containing high concentrations of this terpene. Using light, electron and ion beam microscopy, the ultrastructural features of the three pairs of male accessory glands as well as the glandular part of the vasa deferentia were comparatively investigated in seven species of blister beetles belonging to five different tribes and two subfamilies. All gland pairs examined share common features such as mesodermal derivation, the presence of muscle sheath, a developed rough endoplasmic reticulum, abundant mitochondria, secretory vesicles, and microvillated apical membranes. Within the same species, glands exhibit distinctive features, suggesting that each pair is responsible for the formation of a specific substance. The vasa deferentia, while showing many similarities within the family, often exhibit features unique to each of the individual species investigated, whereas the accessory glands of the first and second pairs display the highest degree of ultrastructural variability. A comparison across the species shows an interesting constancy limited to ultrastructural features in the third pair of accessory glands. The similarities and differences among the species are discussed in the light of the available literature and in relation to the potential role that blister beetles’ male accessory glands could play in the storage and management of cantharidin.

Muzzi, M., Mancini, E., Fratini, E., Cervelli, M., Gasperi, T., Mariottini, P., et al. (2022). Male Accessory Glands of Blister Beetles and Cantharidin Release: A Comparative Ultrastructural Analysis. INSECTS, 13(132), 1-28 [10.3390/ insects13020132].

Male Accessory Glands of Blister Beetles and Cantharidin Release: A Comparative Ultrastructural Analysis

Muzzi M;Cervelli M;Gasperi T;Mariottini P;Persichini T;Bologna MA;Di Giulio A
2022

Abstract

Members of the family Meloidae are known to produce cantharidin, a highly toxic monoterpene found in their hemolymph and exuded as droplets capable of deterring many predators. As a nuptial gift, males transfer large amounts of cantharidin to females via a spermatophore, which is formed by specific accessory glands containing high concentrations of this terpene. Using light, electron and ion beam microscopy, the ultrastructural features of the three pairs of male accessory glands as well as the glandular part of the vasa deferentia were comparatively investigated in seven species of blister beetles belonging to five different tribes and two subfamilies. All gland pairs examined share common features such as mesodermal derivation, the presence of muscle sheath, a developed rough endoplasmic reticulum, abundant mitochondria, secretory vesicles, and microvillated apical membranes. Within the same species, glands exhibit distinctive features, suggesting that each pair is responsible for the formation of a specific substance. The vasa deferentia, while showing many similarities within the family, often exhibit features unique to each of the individual species investigated, whereas the accessory glands of the first and second pairs display the highest degree of ultrastructural variability. A comparison across the species shows an interesting constancy limited to ultrastructural features in the third pair of accessory glands. The similarities and differences among the species are discussed in the light of the available literature and in relation to the potential role that blister beetles’ male accessory glands could play in the storage and management of cantharidin.
Muzzi, M., Mancini, E., Fratini, E., Cervelli, M., Gasperi, T., Mariottini, P., et al. (2022). Male Accessory Glands of Blister Beetles and Cantharidin Release: A Comparative Ultrastructural Analysis. INSECTS, 13(132), 1-28 [10.3390/ insects13020132].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11590/397842
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