Limits...
Microcrystals coating the wing membranes of a living insect (Psocoptera: Psyllipsocidae) from a Brazilian cave.

Lienhard C, Ferreira RL, Gnos E, Hollier J, Eggenberger U, Piuz A - Sci Rep (2012)

Bottom Line: They did not exhibit any signs of reduced vitality in the field and their morphology is completely normal.Guano probably played a role in its formation; the presence of iron may be a consequence of the excretion of iron by the common vampire bat.This enigmatic phenomenon lacks obvious biological significance but may inspire bionic applications.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Natural History Museum of the City of Geneva, CP 6434, CH-1211 Geneva 6, Switzerland. charleslienhard@bluewin.ch

ABSTRACT
Two specimens of Psyllipsocus yucatan with black wings were found with normal individuals of this species on guano piles produced by the common vampire bat Desmodus rotundus. These specimens have both pairs of wings dorsally and ventrally covered by a black crystalline layer. They did not exhibit any signs of reduced vitality in the field and their morphology is completely normal. This ultrathin (1.5 µm) crystalline layer, naturally deposited on a biological membrane, is documented by photographs, SEM micrographs, energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) and X-ray diffractometry (XRD). The crystalline deposit contains iron, carbon and oxygen, but the mineral species could not be identified. Guano probably played a role in its formation; the presence of iron may be a consequence of the excretion of iron by the common vampire bat. This enigmatic phenomenon lacks obvious biological significance but may inspire bionic applications. Nothing similar has ever been observed in terrestrial arthropods.

Show MeSH

Related in: MedlinePlus

Tiquara cave, Campo Formoso municipality, Bahia state, Brazil.(a) Chamber with guano piles wherein the black specimens of Psyllipsocus yucatan were collected. (b) Some normal specimens of P. yucatan in bat guano at the same place (white circle = nymph; yellow circle = adult specimen).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3351784&req=5

f3: Tiquara cave, Campo Formoso municipality, Bahia state, Brazil.(a) Chamber with guano piles wherein the black specimens of Psyllipsocus yucatan were collected. (b) Some normal specimens of P. yucatan in bat guano at the same place (white circle = nymph; yellow circle = adult specimen).

Mentions: P. yucatan shows the typical habitus of a fully winged Psyllipsocus, a tiny, weakly sclerotized, light brown insect (body length 1.2–1.6 mm) with two pairs of wings folded roof-like over the abdomen in resting position (Figure 1). The almost hyaline transparent wing membranes are very thin and completely smooth. The Brazilian population of P. yucatan that interests us here is from the cave known as "Toca da Tiquara", a dolomitic cave located in the municipality of Campo Formoso, north eastern Bahia state (hereafter called Tiquara cave). The cave entrance is in the bottom of a subsidence sinkhole (Figure 2). The cave is 1010 meters long and comprises three main conduits which are predominantly dry. The only water is in two small pools in the final portion of one of the conduits. Numerous individuals (males, females and nymphs) of P. yucatan were collected in Tiquara cave during three biospeleological expeditions between 2008 and 2010. These insects were found living on guano piles, mainly produced by the common vampire bat Desmodus rotundus (Geoffroy). The psocids were especially abundant in a chamber located about 100 metres from the cave entrance (Figure 3a, b), and exhibit the normal habitus of P. yucatan, as shown in Figure 1.


Microcrystals coating the wing membranes of a living insect (Psocoptera: Psyllipsocidae) from a Brazilian cave.

Lienhard C, Ferreira RL, Gnos E, Hollier J, Eggenberger U, Piuz A - Sci Rep (2012)

Tiquara cave, Campo Formoso municipality, Bahia state, Brazil.(a) Chamber with guano piles wherein the black specimens of Psyllipsocus yucatan were collected. (b) Some normal specimens of P. yucatan in bat guano at the same place (white circle = nymph; yellow circle = adult specimen).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3351784&req=5

f3: Tiquara cave, Campo Formoso municipality, Bahia state, Brazil.(a) Chamber with guano piles wherein the black specimens of Psyllipsocus yucatan were collected. (b) Some normal specimens of P. yucatan in bat guano at the same place (white circle = nymph; yellow circle = adult specimen).
Mentions: P. yucatan shows the typical habitus of a fully winged Psyllipsocus, a tiny, weakly sclerotized, light brown insect (body length 1.2–1.6 mm) with two pairs of wings folded roof-like over the abdomen in resting position (Figure 1). The almost hyaline transparent wing membranes are very thin and completely smooth. The Brazilian population of P. yucatan that interests us here is from the cave known as "Toca da Tiquara", a dolomitic cave located in the municipality of Campo Formoso, north eastern Bahia state (hereafter called Tiquara cave). The cave entrance is in the bottom of a subsidence sinkhole (Figure 2). The cave is 1010 meters long and comprises three main conduits which are predominantly dry. The only water is in two small pools in the final portion of one of the conduits. Numerous individuals (males, females and nymphs) of P. yucatan were collected in Tiquara cave during three biospeleological expeditions between 2008 and 2010. These insects were found living on guano piles, mainly produced by the common vampire bat Desmodus rotundus (Geoffroy). The psocids were especially abundant in a chamber located about 100 metres from the cave entrance (Figure 3a, b), and exhibit the normal habitus of P. yucatan, as shown in Figure 1.

Bottom Line: They did not exhibit any signs of reduced vitality in the field and their morphology is completely normal.Guano probably played a role in its formation; the presence of iron may be a consequence of the excretion of iron by the common vampire bat.This enigmatic phenomenon lacks obvious biological significance but may inspire bionic applications.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Natural History Museum of the City of Geneva, CP 6434, CH-1211 Geneva 6, Switzerland. charleslienhard@bluewin.ch

ABSTRACT
Two specimens of Psyllipsocus yucatan with black wings were found with normal individuals of this species on guano piles produced by the common vampire bat Desmodus rotundus. These specimens have both pairs of wings dorsally and ventrally covered by a black crystalline layer. They did not exhibit any signs of reduced vitality in the field and their morphology is completely normal. This ultrathin (1.5 µm) crystalline layer, naturally deposited on a biological membrane, is documented by photographs, SEM micrographs, energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) and X-ray diffractometry (XRD). The crystalline deposit contains iron, carbon and oxygen, but the mineral species could not be identified. Guano probably played a role in its formation; the presence of iron may be a consequence of the excretion of iron by the common vampire bat. This enigmatic phenomenon lacks obvious biological significance but may inspire bionic applications. Nothing similar has ever been observed in terrestrial arthropods.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus