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Starck, J. Matthias; Belojevic, Jelena; Brozio, Jason and Mehnert, Lisa (2022): Comparative anatomy of the rostrosoma of Solifugae, Pseudoscorpiones and Acari. In: Zoomorphology, Vol. 141, No. 1: pp. 57-80 [PDF, 6MB]


We compare the microscopic anatomy of the mouthparts of representative species of Solifugae, Pseudoscorpiones and Parasitiformes (Acari). Specifically, we focus on the epistome, the labrum, the lateral lips (= endites of the pedipalpal coxae) and the musculature of the pharyngeal suction pump. We provide evidence that the labrum is reduced in Solifugae, but present and functional in Pseudoscorpiones and Acari. The epistome constitutes the entire dorsal face of the rostrosoma in Solifugae, but is internalized into the prosoma in Pseudoscorpiones. In Acari, the epistome shows an ancestral morphology, probably close to the ground pattern of chelicerates. The lateral lips of Solifugae contribute to the ventral face of the rostrosoma and the two lips of the mouth opening. In Solifugae, the ventral rostrosoma also includes a sclerite that might derive from a tritosternum. In Pseudoscorpiones, the lateral lips remain independent of the rostrosoma, they interlock ventral to the rostrosoma forming a perioral space. Here, the rostrosoma has an unpaired ventral lip of unresolved morphological origin, which is, however, clearly distinct from the lateral lips of Solifugae. The pharyngeal suction pump differs in all three clades in attachment, number of muscles and origin of muscles. We interpret the data as evidence for independent, parallel evolution of elements of the ground pattern of the (eu)chelicerate mouth parts. Based on the morphological elements of a common euchelicerate ground plan, the rostrosoma evolved independently in the three clades. We reject earlier hypotheses that consider the rostrosoma a character to support a phylogenetic relationship of the three clades.

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