The pregenital abdomen of Enicocephalomorpha and morphological evidence for different modes of communication at the dawn of heteropteran evolution.
Davranoglou L-R., Baňař P., Schlepütz CM., Mortimer B., Taylor GK.
The internal and external anatomy of the posterior metathoracic region, pregenital abdomen, and associated nervous system of the heteropteran infraorder Enicocephalomorpha are thoroughly described, using an array of state-of-the art techniques. Based on morphology, it is hypothesised which modes of communication these insects use. This study is based primarily on an undescribed species of Cocles Bergroth, 1905 (Enicocephalidae) and another undescribed species of Lomagostus Villiers, 1958 (Aenictopecheidae), but additional representatives of the infraorder are also examined. Our results are compared with the literature on other Heteroptera. The metathoracic scent gland system of Enicocephalomorpha uses the same muscles as that of more derived Heteroptera, although the efferent system is different. The presence of a tergal plate and well-developed longitudinal musculature in the families Enicocephalidae and Aenictopecheidae, as well as a sexually dimorphic set of sclerites and membranes that allow an as yet undetermined type of motion, may indicate the presence of vibrational signaling in the infraorder, although experimental confirmation is required. Our findings raise new research questions regarding heteropteran functional morphology and communication.