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Arthropoda is comprised of four major taxa: Hexapoda, Crustacea, Myriapoda and Chelicerata. Although this classification is widely accepted, there is still some debate about the internal relationships of these groups. In particular, the phylogenetic position of Collembola remains enigmatic. Some molecular studies place Collembola into a close relationship to Protura and Diplura within the monophyletic Hexapoda, but this placement is not universally accepted, as Collembola is also regarded as either the sister group to Branchiopoda (a crustacean taxon) or to Pancrustacea (crustaceans + hexapods). To contribute to the current debate on the phylogenetic position of Collembola, we examined the brains in three collembolan species: Folsomia candida, Protaphorura armata and Tetrodontophora bielanensis, using antennal backfills, series of semi-thin sections, and immunostaining technique with several antisera, in conjunction with confocal laser scanning microscopy and three-dimensional reconstructions. We identified several neuroanatomical structures in the collembolan brain, including a fan-shaped central body showing a columnar organization, a protocerebral bridge, one pair of antennal lobes with 20-30 spheroidal glomeruli each, and a structure, which we interpret as a simply organized mushroom body. The results of our neuroanatomical study are consistent with the phylogenetic position of Collembola within the Hexapoda and do not contradict the hypothesis of a close relationship of Collembola, Protura and Diplura.

Original publication




Journal article


Arthropod Struct Dev

Publication Date





304 - 316


Animals, Biological Evolution, Brain, Insects, Microscopy, Electron, Scanning