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Virginia Wesleyan College
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Student Research Projects

Comparative Study of the external morphology of Stygnomma fuhrmanni & Ethobunus albitrochanteris

Student Stacey Sank '14
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Biology
Course BIO 400: Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)


Relatively little is known about the distribution of sensory structures on the legs and body of non-gonyleptoidean harvestmen. In this study, I examined and compared the sensory structures of the harvestmen Stygnomma fuhrmanni (Stygnommatidae) and Ethobunus albitrochanteris (Zalmoxidae) using scanning electron microscopy. Preserved specimens were dissected, dehydrated in a graded ethanol series and dried using hexamethyldisilazane. Specimen were mounted on aluminum stubs, sputter-coated with 15-30µm of gold, and examined with the Hitachi S3400N at accelerating voltages of 5-10 KeV. Structures observed on these harvestmen included sensilla chaetica, trichomes, tubercles, pores, and slit sensilla. Both species displayed a similar pattern with respect to the distribution of sensory structures on different leg segments. The most commonly found sensory structure on both species was sensilla chaetica. In addition, I observed a sharp transition zone from sensilla chaetica to trichomes on the metatarsus and tarsus.

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