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Abstract

The structure of aphid ovaries, including ovipare and virginopare morphs of five species, was investigated by light and electron microscopy. Aphids contain telotrophic meroistic ovarioles. The amount and distribution of cytoplasmic components of nurse cells, nutritive cords, and young oocytes are nearly identical to those known from scale insects and heteropterans. Each ovariole has a constant number of nurse cells and oocytes. In ovaries of ovipare morphs, the nurse cell nuclei enlarge by endomitosis (n = 28n−210n), whereas in virginopare morphs the nurse cell nuclei remain small (n = 22n−24n). Furthermore, in virginoparae the previtellogenic growth of oocytes is highly reduced, and vitellogenesis and chorionogenesis are blocked totally. Embryogenesis starts immediately after the shortened previtellogenic growth.

In each ovariole, all germ cell descendants belong to one germ cell cluster that follows the 2n rule. The cluster normally contains 25 = (32) cells, but other mostly smaller numbers also occur. In contrast to polytrophic meroistic ovarioles, more than one cell of each cluster will develop into an oocyte. In Drepanosiphum platanoides, 16 (2n−1) nurse cells and 16 (2n−1) oocytes exist in each cluster, whereas, in Metopolophium dirhodum, 8 (2n−2) oocytes and 24 (2n−1 + 2n−2) nurse cells are normally found. In many ovarioles of Macrosiphum rosae, 21 nurse cells nourish 11 oocytes. Models of germ cell cluster formation in aphid ovaries are discussed.