Antennal muscles and fast antennal movements in ants

Birgit Ehmer, Wulfila Gronenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The antennal movements of eight ant species (subfamilies Ponerinae, Myrmicinae, and Formicinae) are examined by high-frequency videograplly. They show a wide range of antennal velocities which is generated by antennal muscles composed of particularly diverse muscle fibers. Fiber diameter, sarcomere length and histochemically assessed myosin ATPase activity suggest that some thin fibers are fairly slow, while the bulk of antennal muscle fibers show intermediate or fast properties. These morphological properties correlate with the antennal movement velocities measured for the respective species. Based on their morphology, the fibers that generate the fast antennal retraction in some trapjaw ants appear particularly fast and comprise the shortest sarcomeres yet described (1.1 μm).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-296
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology - B Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1997


  • Antennae
  • Ants
  • Fast movement
  • Morphology
  • Muscle specialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology


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