Tracheae of Rhodnius prolixus Stahl have been studied with the light and electron microscopes. The tracheae have three cuticular components: a two-layered membrane lining the tube and the taenidia between it and the epithelium. The layer upon the lumen face is similar in appearance and properties to the cuticulin layer over the abdomen. The other layer is of chitin with the micelles axially oriented and protein with a stability suggesting tanning. A comparable but slightly thicker layer not penetrated by pore canals exists over the abdomen where it is sclerotized and lipid impregnated. The taenidia also contain chitin and protein but the micelles are arranged tangentially. A tube constructed in this way is well adapted to resist lateral compression while allowing changes in length.
- Copyright © 1957 The Company of Biologists Ltd.