Morphology of neurones associated with the antennal heart of Periplaneta americana (Blattodea, Insecta)
Innervation of the antennal heart, an independent accessory circulatory motor in the head of insects, was investigated in the cockroach Periplaneta americana by use of axonal cobalt filling and transmission electron microscopy. The muscles associated with this organ are innervated by neurones located in a part of the suboesophageal ganglion, generally considered to be formed by the mandibular neuromere. Dorsal unpaired median (DUM) and paired contralateral neurones were stained. The axons of all these neurones run along the circumoesophageal connectives and through the paired nervus corporis cardiaci III into the corpora cardiaca. They pass through these organs forming fine arborizations there and exit anteriorly as a small pair of nerves which terminate at the antennal heart-dilator muscles. Numerous branches of these nerves extend beyond the lateral borders of the large transverse dilator muscle and terminate in the ampullar walls of the antennal heart. These neurosecretory fibres form neurohaemal areas which obviously release their products into the haemolymph, which is pumped into the antennae. The possible functions of the neurones associated with the antennal heart are discussed with respect to both, their role as a modulatory input for the circulatory motor and as a neurohormonal release site.