, Volume 129, Issue 3, pp 175–183 | Cite as

A scanning electron microscopic survey of the cuticle in Cyphophthalmi (Arachnida, Opiliones) with the description of novel sensory and glandular structures

  • Rodrigo H. WillemartEmail author
  • Gonzalo Giribet
Original Paper


The cuticular surfaces of Cyphophthalmi (Opiliones) were studied in detail, covering a wide range of their taxonomic diversity. Previously unknown structures are described, including a sexually dimorphic row of spines and glandular openings on leg I of Fangensis cavernarum. Scanning electron micrographs of the prosomal paired hairs and the subapical process are provided for the first time. Evidence for the multi-pored nature of the shaft of solenidia as well as the hollowed nature and absence of wall pores of sensilla chaetica are also shown for the first time using scanning electron microscopy. The prosomal paired hairs may constitute a novel autapomorphy for Cyphophthalmi, as they are absent in all studied members of the other species of Opiliones. Finally, the variation in shape of some of the structures examined may be of great taxonomic value.


Glands Sensilla Sensory structures Sexual dimorphism Taxonomy 



Ron Clouse greatly helped with SEM micrographs. Richard Schalek of the Harvard Center for Nanoscale Systems assisted with the SEM. Thomas Bartolomaeus and three anonymous reviewers provided suggestions that greatly improved an earlier version of the manuscript. R.H.W. received research fellowship from FAPESP (Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo) # 03/02557-0 and from CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de pessoal de Nível Superior). This material is based on work partly supported by the US National Science Foundation under grant no. 0236871 to G.G.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Escola de Artes Ciências e HumanidadesUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Museum of Comparative ZoologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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