Morphological adaptations of cave-dwelling organisms including different groups of Coleoptera have fascinated researchers since a long time. Nevertheless, very few detailed documentations of the anatomy of cave beetles using modern techniques are available. In this study, we describe and illustrate external and internal cephalic features of free-living and cave-dwelling trechine carabid beetles using digital microscopy, SEM, micro-CT, and computer-based 3D reconstruction. Morphological characteristics found in three selected species with different habitat preferences are compared. The following derived features distinguish a troglobite species (Sinaphaenops wangorum Ueno et Ran 1998) from a species living in the entrance of caves (Trechiotes perroti Jeannel 1954) and from a fully epigean species (Bembidion sp.): (1) the optic lobes are completely missing; (2) the head capsule, mouth parts, and antennae are distinctly elongated; (3) some muscle attachment areas are shifted; and (4) an additional dilator of the pharynx is present. Despite of conspicuous differences likely related with subterranean habits, the link of some cephalic features to this specific habitat preference remains uncertain.
Organisms Diversity & Evolution – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 18, 2017
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