FIGURE 1 Insect antennae exhibit a variety of shapes including elongate morphologies (top) and those with lateral elaborations (bottom). [After Romoser, W. S., and Stoffolano, J. G., Jr. (1998). "The Science of Entomology," WCB/McGraw-Hill, Boston, and Loudon, C., et al. (1994). J. Exp. Biol. 193, 233-254, published by McGraw-Hill, with permission of the McGraw-Hill Companies.]
as on the tentorium) with the other end attached inside the scape. An additional pair of muscles runs from the scape to the next segment of the antenna, the pedicel. The combined action of these two sets of muscles is capable of moving an antenna in almost any direction. The final (most distal) segment of the antenna, the flagellum, is the most variable in morphology among insects. The only insects that have intrinsic muscles in the flagellum (joining adjacent segments) are members of the wingless orders Collembola and Diplura. In all other insects (the majority), there are no muscles in the flagellum. Many specialists prefer "annulus" or "subsegment" to "segment" for an individual part of a flagellum in this latter group of insects, because "segment" is reserved for parts with their own musculature. Movements of an annulated flagellum without intrinsic musculature may still occur, such as the spreading and closing of the lamellae or lateral extensions in an antenna (Fig. 1, bottom), but these movements are driven by changes in the pressure of the hemolymph (blood) inside the antenna and thus are hydraulic rather than muscular.
In most insects, circulation of hemolymph through an antenna is facilitated by muscular pumping by an accessory heart located in the head near the base of the antenna. This antennal heart pumps the hemolymph into a blood vessel that discharges the hemolymph at the distal end of the antenna. The return flow of the hemolymph back to the head (and the general open circulatory system of the insect) is not inside a blood vessel. The lumen of an antenna also contains tracheae and nerves, which branch into any lateral extensions of the flagellum. Sensory neurons that send action potentials in response to chemical or physical stimuli sensed by the antennae terminate in the deutocerebrum of the brain. The deuto-cerebrum is also the site of origin for the motor neurons that stimulate the muscles associated with the antennae.
more segments or annuli, either at the distal end (orders Collembola and Diplura), the proximal end (most other insects), or along the length of the flagellum (some members of the orders Orthoptera and Odonata).
Antennae are serially homologous to mouthparts and legs, reflecting the ancestral condition of a single pair of appendages per body segment shared by arthropods and related groups. Common developmental features between legs and antennae can be seen, for example, in the action of the homeotic gene called Antennapedia, which results in the substitution of leglike appendages for antennae on the head when expressed ectopically in mutant Drosophila. Leglike appendages appearing in the antennal location in adult insects have also been observed after regeneration of antennae following injury during the larval stage (Fig. 2).
Was this article helpful?
Make money with honey How to be a Beekeeper. Beekeeping can be a fascinating hobby or you can turn it into a lucrative business. The choice is yours. You need to know some basics to help you get started. The equipment needed to be a beekeeper. Where can you find the equipment you need? The best location for the hives. You can't just put bees in any spot. What needs to be considered when picking the location for your bees?