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Study of the venom glands in Ectatomma quadridens (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Evolutionary hypothesis in subfamily ponerinae
Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP)
The venom glands of worker ants of the species Ectatomma quadridens morphologically resemble an elongated sac or reservoir ending in a narrower portion that has the function of releasing the secretion to the exterior. Two external secretory filaments are individually inserted into the proximal portion of the gland and end inside the convoluted gland. The venom gland of workers of E. quadridens is, therefore, morphologically subdivided into four distinct portions: a) sac-shaped reservoir measuring approximately 1mm in length; b) excretory duct, proximal portion of the reservoir that joins the gland to the sting apparatus; c) convoluted gland, final portion of the external secretory filaments located inside the reservoir; and d) two secretory filaments measuring about 2 mm in length; their free extremities end blindly and are individually inserted into the reservoir wall at the proximal region of the venom gland. The histological data showed that the filaments and the convoluted gland are composed of cubic cells of secretory function. The reservoir consists of a simple cubical epithelium externally surrounded by muscle fibers. A thick cuticle internally coats the epithelium of the reservoir. The application of histochemical tests allowed us to establish that the final secretion of the venom gland of Ectatomma quadridens is of glycoproteic nature. This secretion undergoes several modifications at the secretory filaments, at the convoluted gland, and in the reservoir before reaching the excretory duct, the point at which the secretion is released in its final composition, namely the venom. Based on the differences among various Ponerinae species we propose a hypothesis suggesting a probable evolutionary process that the venom glands of members of this subfamily might have undergone.
Issue Date: 
Sociobiology, v. 45, n. 3, p. 949-966, 2005.
Time Duration: 
  • Ants
  • Convoluted gland
  • Histology
  • Morphology
  • Phylogenetic relationship
  • Ponerinae
  • Venom gland
  • Ectatomma quadridens
  • Formicidae
  • Hymenoptera
  • Insecta
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Appears in Collections:Artigos, TCCs, Teses e Dissertações da Unesp

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