Data from: Material composition of the mouthpart cuticle in a damselfly larva (Insecta: Odonata) and its biomechanical significance
Büsse, Sebastian; Gorb, Stanislav N. (2018), Data from: Material composition of the mouthpart cuticle in a damselfly larva (Insecta: Odonata) and its biomechanical significance, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.84n16hg
Odonata larvae are key predators in their habitats. They catch prey with a unique and highly efficient apparatus, the prehensile mask. The mandibles and maxillae, however, play the lead in handling and crushing the food. The material composition of the cuticle in the biomechanical system of the larval mouthparts has not been studied so far. We used confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) to detect material gradients in the cuticle by differences in autofluorescence. Our results show variations of materials in different areas of the mouthparts: (i) resilin-dominated pads within the membranous transition between the labrum and the anteclypeus, which support mobility and might provide shock absorption, an adaptation against mechanical damage; (ii) high degrees of sclerotisation in the incisivi of the mandibles, where high forces occur when crushing the prey's body wall. The interaction of the cuticle geometry, the material composition, and the related musculature determines the complex concerted movements of the mouthparts. The material composition influences the strength, mobility and durability of the cuticular components of the mouthparts. Applying CLSM for extracting information about material composition and material properties of arthropod cuticles will considerably help improve FEM studies.