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Functional morphology of the mouthparts of lady beetle Hippodamia variegata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), with reference to their feeding mechanism


The lady beetle Hippodamia variegata (Goeze, 1777) is widely distributed around the world and reported as an important natural enemy of aphids, noctuid larvae, leafhoppers, and psyllids. As feeding organs, the mouthparts of H.variegata must play important roles in the feeding process and study on their morphologies will provide insight into their feeding mechanisms. In this study, we examined the fine morphology of the mouthpart of H. variegata in detail, especially the various kinds of sensilla and the comparison with other lady beetles. We found that the basic components are the same as those in other lady beetles, which are labrum, mandible, maxillae, labium, and hypopharynx and the morphologies of these structures are also quite similar to other species; in total, seven kinds of sensilla were identified, and on the basis of their lengths and distribution, 14 types of sensilla can be identified. Specially, the differences between H. variegata and other beetles were compared and the functions of each part, as well as different kinds of sensilla were discussed.

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We are grateful for the assistance of all staves and students in the Biocontrol Engineering Laboratory of Crop Diseases and Pests of Gansu Province, College of Plant Protection, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou, China. This work was supported by Scientific Research Start-up Funds for Openly-recruited Doctors of Gansu Agricultural University (Grant numbers 2017RCZX-08); Special Funds for Discipline Construction of Gansu Agricultural University (Grant number GAU-XKJS-2018-157); National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant number 31960561) and The National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant number 2018YFD0200405).

Author information

Y-NH contributed to the experiments on the design, conduct, analyze and wrote the manuscript. Y-XS contributed to the study’s conception and design, analyze and revised the manuscript. C-ZL provided scientific advice and revised the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

Correspondence to Ya-Nan Hao.

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Hao, Y., Sun, Y. & Liu, C. Functional morphology of the mouthparts of lady beetle Hippodamia variegata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), with reference to their feeding mechanism. Zoomorphology (2019).

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  • Fine morphology
  • Hippodamia variegata
  • Mouthpart
  • Sensilla