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Interpreting Morphological Adaptations Associated with Viviparity in the Tsetse Fly Glossina morsitans (Westwood) by Three-Dimensional Analysis

Sciprofile linkGeoffrey M Attardo, Sciprofile linkNicole Tam, Sciprofile linkDula Parkinson, Sciprofile linkLindsey K Mack, Sciprofile linkXavier J Zahnle, Sciprofile linkJoceline Arguellez, Sciprofile linkPeter Takáč, Sciprofile linkAnna R Malacrida
Published: 23 September 2020
 by  MDPI
 in Insects
Insects , Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11100651

Abstract: Tsetse flies (genus Glossina), the sole vectors of African trypanosomiasis, are distinct from most other insects, due to dramatic morphological and physiological adaptations required to support their unique biology. These adaptations are driven by demands associated with obligate hematophagy and viviparous reproduction. Obligate viviparity entails intrauterine larval development and the provision of maternal nutrients for the developing larvae. The reduced reproductive capacity/rate associated with this biology results in increased inter- and intra-sexual competition. Here, we use phase contrast microcomputed tomography (pcMicroCT) to analyze morphological adaptations associated with viviparous biology. These include (1) modifications facilitating abdominal distention required during blood feeding and pregnancy, (2) abdominal and uterine musculature adaptations for gestation and parturition of developed larvae, (3) reduced ovarian structure and capacity, (4) structural features of the male-derived spermatophore optimizing semen/sperm delivery and inhibition of insemination by competing males and (5) structural features of the milk gland facilitating nutrient incorporation and transfer into the uterus. Three-dimensional analysis of these features provides unprecedented opportunities for examination and discovery of internal morphological features not possible with traditional microscopy techniques and provides new opportunities for comparative morphological analyses over time and between species.
Keywords: morphology / computed tomography / reproduction / Trypanosomiasis / microCT / Viviparity / Glossina / tsetse

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