(079/MIsen) Micranurida sensillata (Gisin, 1953)

Micranurida sensillata is an extremely tiny and very rare soil-dwelling species which reaches only 0.4 mm in length. The only specimen in the NHM is a superbly mounted individual collected by Harold Gough from calcareous soil at Tarlton, Gloucestershire in 1974 (Fig. 1). This specimen clearly shows the teardrop-shaped sensory structures on ant4 (Fig. 2) and on each side of the second thoracic segment and fourth abdominal segment (Figs. 5, 6), and the peculiar sickle-shaped sensillum on the third segment of the antenna (Fig. 3). The post-antennal organ (PAO) has between 9 to 14 lobes (Fig. 4). 

There is one other literature record by Curry (1969) from Ireland. Micranurida sensillata is white, blind and does not possess a furca. It must be much more common and widespread than records would indicate.

 

 

 

Map Micranurida sensillata
Micranurida sensillata

Fig. 1: Micranurida sensillata of 0.4 mm in length collected from Tarlton, Gloucestershire in March 1974 by Harold Gough.

Fourth antennal segment of Micranurida sensillata

Fig. 2: Teardrop-shaped sensory structure on the fourth antennal segment (ant4) of the same specimen of Micranurida sensillata shown in Fig. 1.

Sickle-shaped sensillum on the third antennal segment of the same specimen of Micranurida sensillata

Fig. 3: Sickle-shaped sensillum on the third antennal segment of the same specimen of Micranurida sensillata shown in Fig. 1. The arrow points to the tip of the sensillum.

PAO with ten lobes of Micranurida sensillata

Fig. 4 (above): PAO with ten lobes of the same specimen of Micranurida sensillata shown in Fig. 1.

Fourth abdominal segment of Micranurida sensillata

Fig. 5: 'Teardrop'-shaped sensilla on the dorsal side of the fourth abdominal segment of the same specimen of Micranurida sensillata shown in Fig. 1 (the dark cross is an artifact).

'Teardrop'-shaped sensilla

Fig. 6: 'Teardrop'-shaped sensilla shown in Fig. 5 at higher magnification.

 
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