Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 217, Issue 2, pp 321–344

Structure of the auditory system of the weta Hemideina crassidens (Blanchard, 1851) (Orthoptera, Ensifera, Gryllacridoidea, Stenopelmatidae)

1. Morphology and histology


  • Eldon E. Ball
    • Department of NeurobiologyResearch School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University
  • L. H. Field
    • Department of NeurobiologyResearch School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University

DOI: 10.1007/BF00233584

Cite this article as:
Ball, E.E. & Field, L.H. Cell Tissue Res. (1981) 217: 321. doi:10.1007/BF00233584


The morphology and histology of the tibial auditory system of the New Zealand weta, Hemideina crassidens, are described. The groups of acoustic sensilla conform closely to the subgenual organ, intermediate organ and crista acoustica of the Tettigoniidae.

Each prothoracic tibia bears two thick (40–100 μm) tympana of approximately equal size divided into two distinct zones. The tracheae of the prothoracic legs are connected across the midline by a transverse commissure and by a chiasma between the ventral longitudinal trunks. No expanded vesicle (“vesicula acoustica”) is associated with the spiracle. The anterior and posterior tracheae are divided into three distinct regions within the tibia: (1) a bulbous proximal posterior inflated chamber, (2) the tympanal vesicles to which the tympana attach, and (3) an elongate distal posterior inflated chamber.

The pattern of innervation in the tympanal region is similar to that of gryllids as is the central projection of the tympanal nerve. The subgenual organ, which contains ca. 50 sensilla, forms an acute angle with the wall of the leg. The intermediate organ contains ca. 19 sensilla forming an arc against the anterior wall of the leg. The crista acoustica contains ca. 50 sensilla aligned in a gelatinous matrix along the dorsal surface of the anterior tympanal vesicle. Each dendrite projects distally, then is reflected proximally and dorsally to end in a scolopale embedded in an attachment cell. The attachment cells are stellate in the proximal portion of the crista, but distally they occur as parallel lamellae.

The weta ear is compared with those of other Orthoptera.

Key words

Insect hearingSound receptorsStenopelmatidAuditory systemMechanoreceptorScolopidiaWetaHemideina crassidens

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981