New Paper in Insects


The Mouthparts of Female Blood-Feeding Frog-Biting Midges (Corethrellidae, Diptera)

Barton S, Virgo J, Krenn HW
Insects. 2023; 14(5):461. . Link. Published online 13 May 2023


Females of frog-biting midges (Corethrellidae) obtain their blood meals from male calling frogs. While the morphology of the feeding apparatus is well studied in hematophagous Diptera that impact humans, frog-biting midges have received far less attention. We provide a detailed micromorphological examination of the piercing blood-sucking proboscis and maxillary palpus in three Corethrella species using scanning electron microscopy and histological semi-thin sectioning. We also compare the sensilla found on the proboscis tip and the palpus of Corethrella with other piercing blood-sucking Diptera. Corethrella spp. have a proboscis length of about 135 µm, equipped with delicate mandibular piercing structures composing the food canal together with the labrum and hypopharynx. Their proboscis composition is plesiomorphic and more similar to other short-proboscid hematophagous Culicomorpha (e.g., Simuliidae), in contrast to the phylogenetically more closely related long-proboscid Culicidae. As in other short-proboscid taxa, the salivary canal in Corethrella spp. transitions into an open salivary groove with one mandible forming a seal, whereas in Culicidae the salivary canal is closed until the tip of the proboscis. We discuss the possible functional constraints of very short, piercing blood-sucking proboscises (e.g., dimensions of host blood cells) that may limit the size of the food canal.