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Tergal glands in termite soldiers of the subfamily Syntermitinae (Isoptera: Termitidae)
Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP)
Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq)
Sponsorship Process Number: 
CNPq: 302486/2007-0
The subfamily Syntermitinae comprises 14 genera of termites that are exclusively neotropical. The present study reports morphological data about mandibulate nasute soldiers from termite species belonging to three different genera within this subfamily. We describe tergal glands that were present under all tergites of soldiers of the following species: Cornitermes cumulans, Procornitermes araujoi, Syntermes nanus, and Syntermes wheeleri. The tergal glands were composed of class 2 and class 3 cells. Class 2 cells never reached the cuticle and were located below a flat layer of epidermal cells. Class 3 cells, composed of secretory cells and canal cells, were sporadic, whereas class 2 secretory cells were abundant. Secretory cells of class 3 were narrow and their cytoplasms were filled with several clear, oval-shaped vesicles with limiting membranes. The ultrastructure of class 2 cells showed well-developed smooth endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, elongated mitochondria, several electron-lucent vesicles, and electron-dense granules that contain paracrystalline structures in S. nanus. Scanning electron micrographs displayed pores, campaniform sensilla and hairs in the outer cuticle of the soldier tergites. We hypothesize that soldier tergal glands may be involved in the production of defensive compounds, which occur in similar glands of certain cockroaches, or of primer pheromones, that might act in the regulation of soldier differentiation in the termite colony. To date, tergal glands have only been described in termite imagoes, and their occurrence in these soldiers of basal Syntermitinae implies a specific role in this caste that is still speculative and needs to be clarified. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Issue Date: 
Micron. Oxford: Pergamon-Elsevier B.V. Ltd, v. 43, n. 2-3, p. 422-427, 2012.
Time Duration: 
Pergamon-Elsevier B.V. Ltd
  • Cornitermes cumulans
  • Exocrine gland
  • Procornitermes araujoi
  • Syntermes nanus
  • Syntermes wheeleri
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Appears in Collections:Artigos, TCCs, Teses e Dissertações da Unesp

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