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      Effects of miniaturization in the anatomy of the minute springtail Mesaphorura sylvatica (Hexapoda: Collembola: Tullbergiidae)

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      PeerJ

      PeerJ Inc.

      Morphology, Miniaturization, Anatomy, Collembola, Body size

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          Abstract

          Smaller animals display pecular characteristics related to their small body size, and miniaturization has recently been intensely studied in insects, but not in other arthropods. Collembola, or springtails, are abundant soil microarthropods and form one of the four basal groups of hexapods. Many of them are notably smaller than 1 mm long, which makes them a good model for studying miniaturization effects in arthropods. In this study we analyze for the first time the anatomy of the minute springtail Mesaphorura sylvatica (body length 400 µm). It is described using light and scanning electron microscopy and 3D computer reconstruction. Possible effects of miniaturization are revealed based on a comparative analysis of data from this study and from studies on the anatomy of larger collembolans. Despite the extremely small size of M. sylvatica, some organ systems, e.g., muscular and digestive, remain complex. On the other hand, the nervous system displays considerable changes. The brain has two pairs of apertures with three pairs of muscles running through them, and all ganglia are shifted posteriad by one segment. The relative volumes of the skeleton, brain, and musculature are smaller than those of most microinsects, while the relative volumes of other systems are greater than or the same as in most microinsects. Comparison of the effects of miniaturization in collembolans with those of insects has shown that most of the miniaturization-related features of M. sylvatica have also been found in microinsects (shift of the brain into the prothorax, absent heart, absence of midgut musculature, etc.), but also has revealed unique features (brain with two apertures and three pairs of muscles going through them), which have not been described before.

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          Most cited references 55

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          Miniaturization of Body Size: Organismal Consequences and Evolutionary Significance

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            Beyond the wasp-waist: structural diversity and phylogenetic significance of the mesosoma in apocritan wasps (Insecta: Hymenoptera)

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              Small is beautiful: features of the smallest insects and limits to miniaturization.

              Miniaturization leads to considerable reorganization of structures in insects, affecting almost all organs and tissues. In the smallest insects, comparable in size to unicellular organisms, modifications arise not only at the level of organs, but also at the cellular level. Miniaturization is accompanied by allometric changes in many organ systems. The consequences of miniaturization displayed by different insect taxa include both common and unique changes. Because the smallest insects are among the smallest metazoans and have the most complex organization among organisms of the same size, their peculiar structural features and the factors that limit their miniaturization are of considerable theoretical interest to general biology.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                PeerJ
                PeerJ
                peerj
                peerj
                PeerJ
                PeerJ Inc. (San Diego, USA )
                2167-8359
                13 November 2019
                2019
                : 7
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Entomology, Faculty of Biology, Moscow State University , Moscow, Russia
                [2 ]Department of Zoology and Ecology, Institute of Biology and Chemistry, Moscow State Pedagogical University , Moscow, Russia
                [3 ]Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Görlitz , Görlitz, Germany
                Article
                8037
                10.7717/peerj.8037
                6858819
                31741793
                ©2019 Panina et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.

                Funding
                Funded by: Russian Science Foundation
                Award ID: 19-14-00045
                The study was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (project no. 19-14-00045). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Categories
                Entomology
                Zoology

                morphology, miniaturization, anatomy, collembola, body size

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