Fine structure of antennal sensilla of the female sphinx moth, Manduca sexta (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae). I. Trichoid and basiconic sensilla

V. D.C. Shields, J. G. Hildebrand

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37 Scopus citations


Olfaction is the principal sensory modality through which insects locate their food sources, mates, and oviposition sites. Insects offer certain advantages as experimental models for the study of mechanisms of olfaction, and a thorough knowledge of the antennal olfactory sensory cells is essential for such studies. While the sphinx moth, Manduca sexta, has proved to be an especially favorable experimental model in studies of pheromone processing in males, little is known about the female olfactory system, including the antennal olfactory sensilla. In this and another paper in this series, we present the first thorough investigation of the structure, innervation, number, and distribution of sensilla on the antennal flagellum of female M. sexta. The flagellum of the female moth bears eight morphological types of sensilla: two trichoid, two basiconic, one auriculate, two coeloconic, and one styliform complex. In this paper, we describe the two types of trichoid and two types of basiconic sensilla. The first type of trichoid sensillum a long hairlike sensillum averaging 34 μm in length, is innervated by two bipolar sensory cells, and the second type, a shorter hairlike sensillum averaging 26 μm length, is innervated by either one or three bipolar sensory cells. The first type of basiconic sensillum is a long peg, averaging 22 μm in length, and the second is a shorter peg, averaging 15 μm in length. Both types of basiconic sensilla are innervated by three bipolar sensory cells. These trichoid and basiconic sensilla have structural features characteristics of insect olfactory sensilla.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-301
Number of pages12
JournalCanadian Journal of Zoology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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