Structure of ovaries in ensign scale insects, the most primitive representatives of Coccomorpha (Insecta, Hemiptera)



The ovaries of Orthezia urticae and Newsteadia floccosa are paired and composed of numerous short ovarioles. Each ovariole consists of an anterior trophic chamber and a posterior vitellarium that contains one developing oocyte. The trophic chamber contains large nurse cells (trophocytes) and arrested oocytes. The total number of germ cells per ovariole (i.e., cluster) is variable, but it is always higher than 32 and less than 64. This suggests that five successive mitotic cycles of a cystoblast plus additional divisions of individual cells are responsible for the generation of the cluster. Cells of the trophic chamber maintain contact with the oocyte via a relatively broad nutritive cord. The trophic chamber and oocyte are surrounded by somatic cells that constitute the inner epithelial sheath around the former and the follicular epithelium around the latter. Anagenesis of hemipteran ovarioles is discussed in relation to the findings presented. © 1995 Wiley-Liss, Inc.