Ultrastructure of antennal sensillae of the samsum ant, Pachycondyla sennaarensis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)
Black ant (Samsum), Pachycodyla sennarrensis, stings and injects venom and inflicts allergy (a rare clinical problem) due to its local and systemic reaction, which is considered as a health hazard amongst Saudi society. Thus, black ant is a source of serious concern for the government and experts as well. Ultramorphological variations, distribution, differential sensillae counts (DSC) and total sensillae counts (TSC), were identified and estimated as a complementary part of the peripheral nervous system on the antennae of worker samsum ant, P. sennarrensis in order to understand its behavioral ecology. Based on scanning electron micrographs, four types of sensillae constituted with three trichoid types, which is an abundant form with a high distribution density at the apex, but a low density at subsequent proximal flagellomere of the antenna and a placoid type of sensillae (a rare form mostly found in the middle of the flagellum, that is, on the 4th, 5th and 6th flagellomere) were categorised. It is documented that nonporous trichoid type of sensillae are mechanoreceptors and thermoreceptors, whereas, the placoid types are olfactory receptors. Present findings in an indigenous species in Saudi Arabia may help in understanding the ecological behaviour of the ant, which subsequently may form the basis in producing its effective control measure in future.
Key words: Samsum ants, Pachycondyla sennarrensis, ultrastructure, antenna, sensillae,