AE  Vol.2 No.1 , January 2014
Antennal epicuticular structure of camel crickets (Orthoptera: Rhaphidophoridae) for identifying the prey of Mustella sibrica Pallas
Camel crickets (Orthoptera: Rhaphidophoridae) are a group of wingless and humpbacked Orthopteran insects. They are closed relatives to katydids and crickets; they were called spider crickets somewhere because of their long legs. Camel cricket plays an important role in the food web in various ecosystems. In the forest ecosystem, they live in the ground level of forestry under litters and fallen leaves, and some of them live beneath the log and hid themselves under loosen tree barks. They feed on decomposing organic substances and serve as decomposers in the food chain. It is a very common insect prey to insectivorous animals in natural and artificial vegetation. Guandaushi (GDS) is the experimental forest station of National Chung Hsing University, as the study site of long term ecological research (LTER) in Taiwan. And the camel cricket became an important subject and a dominant insect group in the LTER studies. They are the major parts of the insect preys of vertebrates, especially to the insectivorous mammals. According to our previous publication, 32.2% of the insect preys of Mustela sibirica Pallas are camel crickets in GDS forest ecosystem. There were 5 morpho-species of camel crickets by the characters of antennal epicuticular characters. The camel cricket was collected from various ways according to the LTER study during 1995-1998. The morphology of antennal epicuticular structure from totally 60 individuals was observed by using SEM. The epicuticular sculpture was described and classified into Type I and Type II by the SEM photographs. Type I has 8 patterns and Type II has 5 patterns in this study. The illustration and the pictorial key were provided here as the tool for further application. The morpho-species could not be identified due to the remainder being fragmented while examined. After the study, the SEM antennal epicuticular structures were classified and identified based upon the antennae sample of the morphospecies from the specimens of the 5 camel crickets which were collected from GDS forest ecosystem in this study. This is a part of the fundamental study for the protocol of ecosystem study. The protocol for identifying the insectivorous animal’s prey by the insect fragment of food remainders is necessary. One more, there were 7 of the 13 patterns of antennal epicuticular structure applied to analysis the 5 morpho-species provided as the case study for taxonomy.

Cite this paper
Hu, C. , Yang, J. and Tu, W. (2014) Antennal epicuticular structure of camel crickets (Orthoptera: Rhaphidophoridae) for identifying the prey of Mustella sibrica Pallas. Advances in Entomology, 2, 1-7. doi: 10.4236/ae.2014.21001.
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