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Journal Article

The morphology and evolution of the female postabdomen of Holometabola (Insecta)

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Hünefeld, F., Mißbach, C., & Beutel, R. G. (2012). The morphology and evolution of the female postabdomen of Holometabola (Insecta). Arthropod Structure & Development, 41(4), 361-371. doi:10.1016/j.asd.2012.05.002.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-9DBB-E
In the present article homology issues, character evolution and phylogenetic implications related to the female postabdomen of the holometabolan insects are discussed, based on an earlier analysis of a comprehensive morphological data set. Hymenoptera, the sistergroup of the remaining Holometabola, are the only group where the females have retained a fully developed primary ovipositor of the lepismatid type. There are no characters of the female abdomen supporting a clade Coleopterida + Neuropterida. The invagination of the terminal segments is an autapomorphy of Coleoptera. The ovipositor is substantially modified in Raphidioptera and distinctly reduced in Megaloptera and Neuroptera. The entire female abdomen is extremely simplified in Strepsiptera. The postabdomen is tapering posteriorly in Mecopterida and retractile in a telescopic manner (oviscapt). The paired ventral sclerites of segments VIII and IX are preserved, but valvifers and valvulae are not distinguishable. In Amphiesmenoptera sclerotizations derived from the ventral appendages VIII are fused ventromedially, forming a solid plate, and the appendages IX are reduced. The terminal segments are fused and form a terminal unit which bears the genital opening subapically. The presence of two pairs of apophyses and the related protraction of the terminal unit by muscle force are additional autapomorphies, as is the fusion of the rectum with the posterior part of the genital chamber (cloaca). Antliophora are supported by the presence of a transverse muscle between the ventral sclerites of segment VIII. Secondary egg laying tubes have evolved independently within Boreidae (absent in Caurinus) and in Tipulomorpha. The loss of two muscle associated with the genital chamber are likely autapomorphies of Diptera. The secondary loss of the telescopic retractability of the postabdomen is one of many autapomorphies of Siphonaptera.