Morphology and ultrastructure of the pro- and postpharyngeal glands in workers of Pachycondyla sennaarensis

Johan Billen, Mohammed Saled Al-Khalifa


The pro- and postpharyngeal glands of Brachyponera sennaarensis both appear as globular formations at a general anatomical level. However, only for the propharyngeal gland do these formations correspond with spherical secretory cells with diameters of 30-40 µm. For the lobed postpharyngeal gland, in contrast, this globular appearance is caused by the bulbous protrusions of the epithelial cells. This lobed appearance and globular cell shape also occur in the postpharyngeal glands of other Ponerinae and thus may represent a phylogenetic character. At the ultrastructural level, the propharyngeal gland cells are characterized by a well-developed granular endoplasmic reticulum, which is in agreement with its presumed production of digestive enzymes. The postpharyngeal gland cells contain a well-developed smooth endoplasmic reticulum, which allows the production of a non-proteinaceous secretion.


Brachyponera sennaarensis; propharyngeal gland; postpharyngeal gland; morphology; ultrastructure

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