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The Control Apparatus of the Venom Gland in Formicine Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

A closing apparatus of the venom gland and its innervation is described for formicine ants. Several pairs of muscles occur, of which two main pairs are directly involved in opening or closing the venom duct. One pair directly attaches to the ventral part of the extremely wide venom duct, which shows a considerable cuticular thickening of its ventral cuticular lining at the point of insertion of the muscles. Semi-thin sections clearly demonstrate that these muscles attach very closely to those belonging to the closing apparatus of the adjacent Dufour gland. Innervation of the venom gland control apparatus of some worker formicine ants has been investigated in specimens vitally stained with methylene blue and dissected under a stereomicroscope, showing a rather simple innervation pattern. Both the Dufour gland and the venom gland musculature are innervated by branches of the same nerve, a characteristic that might indicate simultaneous operation of their muscles and simultaneous release of the two respective secretions produced.

Affiliations: 1: Zoological Institute, University of Leuven, Naamsestraat 59, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium


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