Types and numbers of sensilla on antennae and maxillary palps of small and large houseflies, Musca domestica (Diptera, Muscidae)

R.C. Smallegange, F.J. Kelling, C.J. den Otter

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28 Citations (Scopus)


Houseflies, Musca domestica, obtained from a high-larval-density culture were significantly (ca. 1.5 times) smaller than those from a low-larval-density culture. The same held true for their antennae and maxillary palps. Structure, number, and distribution of sensilla on antennae and palps of small and large flies were investigated using Scanning electron microscopy and Transmission electron microscopy. In each funiculus three pits were present, two (Type I) consisting of several compartments and one (Type II) of one compartment. Four types of olfactory sensilla were detected: trichoid sensilla on the funiculi, basiconic sensilla on funiculi and palps, grooved sensilla on funiculi and in pits Type I, and clavate sensilla on funiculi and in pits Type II. Type I pits also contained striated sensilla (presumably hygroreceptors). Mechanosensory bristles were present on scapes, pedicels, and palps. Noninnervated microtrichia were found on the palps and all antennal segments. The large houseflies possessed nearly twice as much sensilla as the small flies. So far, we did not observe differences in behavior between small and large flies. We assumed that small flies, being olfactory less equipped than large flies, may be able to compensate for this by, e.g., visual cues or by their olfactory sensilla being more sensitive than those of large flies. To be able to answer these questions careful studies have to be done on the behavioral responses of small and large flies to environmental stimuli. In addition, electrophysiological studies should be performed to reveal whether the responses of individual sensilla of flies reared under different conditions have been changed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)880-886
JournalMicroscopy Research and Technique
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • delia-radicum l
  • melanogaster meigen diptera
  • cabbage root fly
  • olfactory sensilla
  • phenotypic plasticity
  • locusta-migratoria
  • sense-organs
  • anthomyiidae
  • thermoreceptors
  • hygroreceptors

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