Distal oviduct and genital chamber of eriophyoids (Acariformes, Eriophyoidea): refined terminology and remarks on CLSM technique for studying musculature of mites

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The general morphology of cuticle-lined internal genitalia and oviduct is analyzed in intact females of the phytophagous mites, Loboquintus subsquamatus and Trisetacus cf bagdasariani (Acari: Eriophyoidea) using tetramethylrhodamine B isothiocyanate-phalloidin, three anaesthetics (magnesium sulphate, lidocaine and CO2-enriched water) and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). This is the first protocol adopted for CLSM studying musculature of mites. Revision of the previous terminology of eriophyoid internal genitalia from Nuzzaci and Alberti (Eriophyoid mites: their biology, natural enemies and control. World crop pests 6. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 101–150, 1996) resulted in the refinement of the terms “distal oviduct”, “genital chamber” and “spermatheca”. Relative position of the elements of cuticle-lined internal genitalia is discussed and a generalized 3D model and animation (available on-line as supplementary material) of eriophyoid genital apparatus are provided. The wall of eriophyoid oviduct contains strong longitudinal muscles attached to the cuticle genital chamber with folded walls. When the egg is being extruded by contraction of the oviduct muscles, it forms lobes corresponding to the internal topography of the oviduct and genital chamber; these lobes invaginate inward from the gonopore, resulting in the “flower-shaped” figures rarely observed in slide-mounted mites. Gnathosomal muscles (cheliceral muscles and extrinsic muscles of palps) and opisthosomal muscles D1 of Loboquintus mites are attached to the three posterior depressions near the rear prodorsal shield margin. Prospects of CLSM approach for studying different aspects of mite morphology are briefly discussed.

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  1. 1.

    These data are quite extensive and need to be analyzed separately, which is beyond the scope of this paper.

  2. 2.

    The same image was given earlier by Nuzzaci and Solinas (1984, Fig. 9, p. 500) with similar indication of the distal oviduct.

  3. 3.

    As it was mentioned by Nuzzaci and Alberti (1996, p. 138) the term vagina (and bursa copulatrix as well) is not appropriate in eriophyoids “…insemination occurs by indirect spermatophore transfer”.

  4. 4.

    Mentioned as “ductus spermathecae” and abbreviated as “DS” in Nuzzaci and Solinas (1984, p. 491).


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I sincerely thank Prof. James W. Amrine (West Virginia University, Morgantown, USA), Prof. Enrico de Lillo and Prof. Emeritus Giorgio Nuzzaci (University of Bari, Italy) and Prof. Radmila U. Petanović (University of Belgrade, Serbia) for their critical comments on earlier drafts of manuscript and pertinent on-line discussions on eriophyoid anatomy and taxonomy. I am grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their comments. This study was supported by Russian Science Foundation (RSCF Grant #14-14-00621).

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Correspondence to Philipp E. Chetverikov.

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Chetverikov, P.E. Distal oviduct and genital chamber of eriophyoids (Acariformes, Eriophyoidea): refined terminology and remarks on CLSM technique for studying musculature of mites. Exp Appl Acarol 64, 407–428 (2014).

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  • Confocal microscopy
  • 3D-modelling
  • Phalloidin
  • Reproductive systems
  • Anaesthetics
  • Myorelaxation
  • Functional morphology