Publication details

Neurons and a sensory organ in the pedipalps of male spiders reveal that it is not a numb structure


SENTENSKÁ Lenka MÜLLER Carsten PEKÁR Stanislav UHL Gabriele

Year of publication 2017
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Scientific Reports
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Zoology
Keywords sensilla; epidermal exocrine glands; sperm transfer; X-ray microscopy; electron microscopy; functional morphology
Description The primary function of male copulatory organs is depositing spermatozoa directly into the female reproductive tract. Typical male copulatory organs are sensorily active. This is in contrast to the copulatory organs of male spiders (i.e. palpal bulbi), which have been assumed to lack nerves and muscles until recently. Neurons have been found within the bulbus of the spider Hickmania troglodytes, a taxon basal to all Neocribellata. We provide the first evidence for neurons and an internalized multi-sensillar sensory organ in the bulbus of an entelegyne spider (Philodromus cespitum). The sensory organ likely provides mechanical or chemical feedback from the intromitting structure, the embolus. We found further neurons associated with two glands within the bulbus, one of which is likely responsible for sperm extrusion during mating. These findings provide a new framework for studies on reproductive behaviour and sexual selection in spiders.
Related projects:

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.

More info