, Volume 101, Issue 7, pp 527–532 | Cite as

New exocrine glands in ants: the hypostomal gland and basitarsal gland in the genus Melissotarsus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

  • Bert HölldoblerEmail author
  • Malu Obermayer
  • Nicola J. R. PlowesEmail author
  • Brian L. Fisher
Original Paper


Fisher and Robertson (Insect Soc 46: 78–83, 1999) discovered the production of silk-like secretions emerging from slit-shaped openings along the anterior margin of the ventral hypostoma of Melissotarsus ant workers. The current histological study describes a hitherto unknown hypostomal gland from which this silk-like substance originates. In addition, this study describes a new basitarsal gland in the three pairs of legs of Melissotarsus workers.


Melissotarsus Exocrine glands Hypostoma Basitarsus Silk production Rhopalomastix 



Some of the scanning electron microscopy was performed in the School of Life Sciences EM Laboratory at Arizona State University, with the assistance of D. Lowry. This study was supported by the German Science Foundation (DFG) and Arizona State University. We thank one of the reviewers for a very detailed review with many helpful and specific comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life SciencesArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.Biozentrum (Zoologie II) der Universität WürzburgWürzburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of EntomologyCalifornia Academy of SciencesSan FranciscoUSA

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