Ultrastructure of the maxillary organ of Scutigera coleoptrata (Chilopoda, Notostigmophora): description of a multifunctional head organ.


The maxillary organ of Scutigera coleoptrata was investigated using light microscopy, electron microscopy, and maceration techniques. Additionally, we compared the maxillary organ of S. coleoptrata with those of two other notostigmophoran centipedes, Parascutigera festiva and Allothereua maculata, using SEM. The maxillary organ is located inside the posterior coxal lobes of the first maxillae and extends posteriorly as sac-like pouches. The narrow epidermis of the maxillae is differentiated to form the epithelium of the maxillary organ. Two types of epithelia are distinguishable: a simple cuboidal epithelium of different height and differentiation (types I, II, IV) and a pseudostratified columnar epithelium (type III). These epithelia are covered by a highly specialized cuticle. The pseudostratified epithelium is the most prominent feature of the maxillary organ. It is covered with hundreds of setae, protruding deep into the maxillary organ. Two different types of setae can be distinguished, filiform and fusiform. The maxillary organ communicates with the oral cavity, the maxillary organ gland, the maxillary nephridium, and with a large number of epidermal glands that secrete into the maxillary organ. Epithelium III allows the extension of the maxillary organ when its pouches are filled with secretion. The maxillary organ is a complex multifunctional organ. The organ probably stores excretion from the maxillary nephridia and secretory fluid from the maxillary organ gland and other epidermal glands. The fluid is primarily required as preening fluid. The ammonia of the excretory fluid is thought to evaporate via the setae and the wide opening of the maxillary organ. It is likely that parts of the fluid can be reabsorbed by the animal via the oral cavity.

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@article{Hilken2006UltrastructureOT, title={Ultrastructure of the maxillary organ of Scutigera coleoptrata (Chilopoda, Notostigmophora): description of a multifunctional head organ.}, author={Gero Hilken and J{\"{o}rg Rosenberg}, journal={Journal of morphology}, year={2006}, volume={267 2}, pages={152-65} }