Structure and function of the Johnston’s organ in Fleuria lacustris Kieff. males (Diptera, Chironomidae)

  • Fedorova M
  • Zhantiev R
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The majority of chironomid midges mate in swarms, where males find females by their flight sounds using specialized Johnston’s organs for acoustic perception. Males of Fleuria lacustris do not swarm and copulate on the ground. Both the flagellum and antennal fibrils are shortened and the pedicel is reduced in comparison with that typical of swarming midge species. Our results demonstrate that, in swarming midge species, the number of antennal fibrils and of A-type chordotonal sensilla in the male Johnston’s organ is by 1.33 and by 21 times higher, respectively, than in F. lacustris . Though Johnston’s organ of the latter species responds to female flight tones, it is significantly (about 70 times) less sensitive to these stimuli in comparison with the Johnston’s organ of swarming species. The decrease in the sensitivity of the Johnston’s organ in F. lacustris can be explained by the decrease in the size and the number of antennal structures, whereas their ability to perceive acoustic signals is determined by the presence of a relatively high number of A-type sensilla. Our results demonstrate that F. lacustris males are not able to search for conspecific females by perception of acoustic signals produced during the flight; however, it cannot be ruled out that females produce sounds during copulation on the substrate and thus affect male behavior.

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  • M. V. Fedorova

  • R. D. Zhantiev

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