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Journal Articles Scientific Reports Year : 2021

Interspecific variation of antennal lobe composition among four hornet species


Olfaction is a crucial sensory modality underlying foraging, social and mating behaviors in many insects. Since the olfactory system is at the interface between the animal and its environment, it receives strong evolutionary pressures that promote neuronal adaptations and phenotypic variations across species. Hornets are large eusocial predatory wasps with a highly developed olfactory system, critical for foraging and intra-specific communication. In their natural range, hornet species display contrasting ecologies and olfactory-based behaviors, which might match to adaptive shifts in their olfactory system. The first olfactory processing center of the insect brain, the antennal lobe, is made of morphological and functional units called glomeruli. Using fluorescent staining, confocal microscopy and 3D reconstructions, we compared antennal lobe structure, glomerular numbers and volumes in four hornet species (Vespa crabro, Vespa velutina, Vespa mandarinia and Vespa orientalis) with marked differences in nesting site preferences and predatory behaviors. Despite a conserved organization of their antennal lobe compartments, glomeruli numbers varied strongly between species, including in a subsystem thought to process intraspecific cuticular signals. Moreover, specific adaptations involving enlarged glomeruli appeared in two species, V. crabro and V. mandarinia, but not in the others. We discuss the possible function of these adaptations based on species-specific behavioral differences.
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hal-03402771 , version 1 (25-10-2021)



Antoine Couto, Gérard Arnold, Hiroyuki Ai, Jean-Christophe Sandoz. Interspecific variation of antennal lobe composition among four hornet species. Scientific Reports, 2021, 11, ⟨10.1038/s41598-021-00280-z⟩. ⟨hal-03402771⟩
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