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Keywords:

  • alien pest;
  • dorsal abdominal scent glands;
  • leaf-footed bug;
  • metathoracic scent glands;
  • scanning electron microscopy;
  • SEM

Abstract

The coreid Leptoglossus occidentalis is a Nearctic bug responsible for severe seed losses to pine orchards. When disturbed, adults and nymphs emit a defensive secretion deemed an allomone. Here we describe the gross morphology of the scent gland apparatus and the related evaporatory structures in nymphs and adults of L. occidentalis, through light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Adults of both sexes possess a metathoracic scent gland complex (MTG) including a central orange-yellow reservoir and a pair of white lateral glands, connected by ducts to the reservoir. The MTG belongs to the diastomian type, with two ostioles located on the metathorax associated with a microsculptured cuticular accumulation area, i.e. evaporatory area, which can prevent the spread of the secretion on to non-evaporative cuticle and increase scent fluid evaporation. A high number of male-specific sternal gland pores were observed. These pores and associated glands are likely the source of an attractant pheromone, which could be extremely useful in monitoring and combating this invasive pest. In nymphs, MTG is replaced by two dorsal abdominal scent glands (DAGs) located between the 4th and the 6th urotergites. DAGs are reddish cuticle-lined sacs with gland cells forming the gland wall; the scent substances are released through two orifices lying on the mid-dorsal abdominal line between urotergites IV–V and V–VI. Also in nymphs, peculiar cuticular evaporatory areas surround both orifices.