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Holding tight to feathers - structural specializations and attachment properties of the avian ectoparasite Crataerina pallida (Diptera, Hippoboscidae).
J Exp Biol 2018; 221(Pt 13)JE

Abstract

The louse fly Crataerina pallida is an obligate blood-sucking ectoparasite of the common swift Apus apus As a result of reduction of the wings, C. pallida is unable to fly; thus, an effective and reliable attachment to their host's plumage is of utmost importance. The attachment system of C. pallida shows several modifications in comparison to that of other calyptrate flies, notably the large tridentate claws and the dichotomously shaped setae located on the pulvilli. Based on data from morphological analysis, confocal laser scanning microscopy, cryo-scanning electron microscopy and attachment force experiments performed on native (feathers) as well as artificial substrates (glass, epoxy resin and silicone rubber), we showed that the entire attachment system is highly adapted to the fly's lifestyle as an ectoparasite. The claws in particular are the main contributor to strong attachment to the host. Resulting attachment forces on feathers make it impossible to detach C. pallida without damage to the feathers or to the legs of the louse fly itself. Well-developed pulvilli are responsible for the attachment to smooth surfaces. Both dichotomously shaped setae and high setal density explain high attachment forces observed on smooth substrates. For the first time, we demonstrate a material gradient within the setae, with soft, resilin-dominated apical tips and stiff, more sclerotized bases in Diptera. The empodium seems not to be directly involved in the attachment process, but it might operate as a cleaning device and may be essential to maintain the functionality of the entire attachment system.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Functional Morphology and Biomechanics Zoological Institute, Kiel University, Am Botanischen Garten 1-9, 24098 Kiel, Germany dpetersen@zoologie.uni-kiel.de.Department of Functional Morphology and Biomechanics Zoological Institute, Kiel University, Am Botanischen Garten 1-9, 24098 Kiel, Germany.Department of Functional Morphology and Biomechanics Zoological Institute, Kiel University, Am Botanischen Garten 1-9, 24098 Kiel, Germany.Department of Functional Morphology and Biomechanics Zoological Institute, Kiel University, Am Botanischen Garten 1-9, 24098 Kiel, Germany.Research Group of Ecology and Behavioral Biology, Institute of Biology, Department of Chemistry-Biology, University of Siegen, Adolf-Reichwein-Str. 2, 57076 Siegen, Germany.Research Group of Ecology and Behavioral Biology, Institute of Biology, Department of Chemistry-Biology, University of Siegen, Adolf-Reichwein-Str. 2, 57076 Siegen, Germany.Department of Functional Morphology and Biomechanics Zoological Institute, Kiel University, Am Botanischen Garten 1-9, 24098 Kiel, Germany.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

29712747

Citation

Petersen, Dennis S., et al. "Holding Tight to Feathers - Structural Specializations and Attachment Properties of the Avian Ectoparasite Crataerina Pallida (Diptera, Hippoboscidae)." The Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 221, no. Pt 13, 2018.
Petersen DS, Kreuter N, Heepe L, et al. Holding tight to feathers - structural specializations and attachment properties of the avian ectoparasite Crataerina pallida (Diptera, Hippoboscidae). J Exp Biol. 2018;221(Pt 13).
Petersen, D. S., Kreuter, N., Heepe, L., Büsse, S., Wellbrock, A. H. J., Witte, K., & Gorb, S. N. (2018). Holding tight to feathers - structural specializations and attachment properties of the avian ectoparasite Crataerina pallida (Diptera, Hippoboscidae). The Journal of Experimental Biology, 221(Pt 13), doi:10.1242/jeb.179242.
Petersen DS, et al. Holding Tight to Feathers - Structural Specializations and Attachment Properties of the Avian Ectoparasite Crataerina Pallida (Diptera, Hippoboscidae). J Exp Biol. 2018 Jul 1;221(Pt 13) PubMed PMID: 29712747.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Holding tight to feathers - structural specializations and attachment properties of the avian ectoparasite Crataerina pallida (Diptera, Hippoboscidae). AU - Petersen,Dennis S, AU - Kreuter,Nils, AU - Heepe,Lars, AU - Büsse,Sebastian, AU - Wellbrock,Arndt H J, AU - Witte,Klaudia, AU - Gorb,Stanislav N, Y1 - 2018/07/01/ PY - 2018/02/12/received PY - 2018/04/23/accepted PY - 2018/5/2/pubmed PY - 2018/5/2/medline PY - 2018/5/2/entrez KW - Adhesion KW - Biomechanics KW - Ecomorphology KW - Empodium KW - Friction KW - Interlocking KW - Parasitism KW - Pulvilli JF - The Journal of experimental biology JO - J. Exp. Biol. VL - 221 IS - Pt 13 N2 - The louse fly Crataerina pallida is an obligate blood-sucking ectoparasite of the common swift Apus apus As a result of reduction of the wings, C. pallida is unable to fly; thus, an effective and reliable attachment to their host's plumage is of utmost importance. The attachment system of C. pallida shows several modifications in comparison to that of other calyptrate flies, notably the large tridentate claws and the dichotomously shaped setae located on the pulvilli. Based on data from morphological analysis, confocal laser scanning microscopy, cryo-scanning electron microscopy and attachment force experiments performed on native (feathers) as well as artificial substrates (glass, epoxy resin and silicone rubber), we showed that the entire attachment system is highly adapted to the fly's lifestyle as an ectoparasite. The claws in particular are the main contributor to strong attachment to the host. Resulting attachment forces on feathers make it impossible to detach C. pallida without damage to the feathers or to the legs of the louse fly itself. Well-developed pulvilli are responsible for the attachment to smooth surfaces. Both dichotomously shaped setae and high setal density explain high attachment forces observed on smooth substrates. For the first time, we demonstrate a material gradient within the setae, with soft, resilin-dominated apical tips and stiff, more sclerotized bases in Diptera. The empodium seems not to be directly involved in the attachment process, but it might operate as a cleaning device and may be essential to maintain the functionality of the entire attachment system. SN - 1477-9145 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/29712747/Holding_tight_to_feathers_-_structural_specializations_and_attachment_properties_of_the_avian_ectoparasite_Crataerina_pallida_(Diptera,_Hippoboscidae) L2 - http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=29712747 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -