Microstructure of the tarsal attachment devices in the earwig Timomenus komarovi



Myung-Jin Moon, Dankook University, Biological Sciences, 29 Anseo-dong, Cheonan 330-714, Republic of Korea. Email: moonmj@dankook.ac.kr


The biological attachment device on the tarsal appendage of the earwig, Timomenus komarovi (Insecta: Dermaptera: Forficulidae) was investigated using field emission scanning electron microscopy to reveal the fine structural characteristics of its biological attachment devices to move on smooth and rough surfaces. They attach to rough substrates using their pretarsal claws; however, attachment to smooth surfaces is achieved by means of two groups of hairy tarsal pads. This biological attachment device consists of fine hairy setae with various contact sizes. Three different groups of tenent setae were distinguished depending on the cuticular substructure of the endplates. Two groups of setae commonly had flattened surfaces, and they were covered with either spoon-shaped or spatula-shaped endplates, respectively. While the flattened tip setae were distributed at the central region, the pointed tip setae were characteristically found along the marginal region. There were no obvious gender-specific differences between fibrillar adhesive pads in this insect mainly because the forceps-like pincers are used during copulation to grasp the partner.