Microdissection and transverse semithin sections were used to perform a light microscopy survey of the gross morphology and cellular anatomy of the alimentary canal, respectively, of Lygus hesperus Knight, a key pest of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), and other crops. The gross morphology of the alimentary canal showed a relatively unadorned tube compared with other hemipterans, with variably shaped compartments and one small diverticulum. However, the epithelial cell anatomy of the gut was relatively complex, with the midgut having the most diverse structure and cell types. The midgut was typical of the “Lygus-type gut” seen in the older literature, i.e., it consisted of three major regions, the first (descending), second (ascending), and third (descending) ventriculi, with different variants of three major epithelial cell types in each region. Our light microscopy (LM) study suggests that the three cell types are nondifferentiated regenerative cells (which sparsely occurred throughout the midgut but were abundant in the anterior region of the first ventriculus), endocrine cells, and columnar cells. Although the Lygus gut cells strongly resemble those cell types seen in other insects, their identification should be confirmed via transmission electron microscopy to be considered definitive. These cell types differed in the size and opacity of vesicles, geometry of cell surface in the gut lumen, and size, shape, and concentration of brush-border microvilli and location within the gut. Comparison of gut structure in L. hesperus with that of other hemipterans, especially in relation to hemipteran phylogeny and feeding strategies, is discussed.
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Vol. 101 • No. 1