Temperature fluctuations during embryonic development implicated in a naturally occurring instance of abnormal spinnerets in the spider Australomimetus maculosus (Araneae, Mimetidae)


We record developmental abnormalities of the spinnerets in a field-collected adult male specimen of Australomimetus maculosus. These include (1) a supernumerary right posterior lateral spinneret (PLS), (2) ectopic piriform silk gland spigots and tartipores on the left PLS that are normally restricted to anterior lateral spinnerets (ALSs), and (3) what appear to be ectopic ALS sensilla on the left posterior median spinneret (PMS). Published results of teratological experiments and climate data for the collection site indicate that fluctuating sub- and supra-optimal temperatures during embryogenesis may have been responsible for these anomalies. This specimen thus supports the view that spinneret abnormalities, among other aberrations, may be induced when embryos of entelegyne spiders are exposed to fluctuations between high and low temperatures, whether in the laboratory or, as here, in nature. To our knowledge, the ectopic structures seen on the left PLS and left PMS have not been observed previously. Their locations are consistent with a hypothesis by which only the lateral portion of the araneomorph ALS is serially homologous to the PLS, while the remainder of the ALS, along with the colulus/cribellum, is homologous to the PMS.


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Arthropod Structure & Development


Elsevier Ltd.

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