Scanning electron microscopy was used to examine the external morphology of first-, second-, and third-instar stable flies (Stomoxys calcitrans (L.)). In the cephalic region, the antennae, labial lobe, and maxillary palpi are morphologically similar among instars. Antennae comprise a prominent anterior dome that is the primary site of olfaction, while the maxillary palpi are innervated with mechanoand chemosensilla and scolopodia. The ventral organ and facial mask, also located in the pseudocephalon, are not well-developed in first instars, but become progressively more so in the subsequent instars. When the pseudocephalon is partially retracted, anterior spines cusp around the oral ridges of the facial mask. This indicates the anterior spinose band may be used in conjunction with the facial mask in predigestion. Functional anterior spiracles are absent on first instars, but become evident as a pair of palmate spiracular processes with five to seven lobes in second and third instars. A pair of Keilin's organs, functioning as hygroreceptors, is located on each thoracic segment. Abdominal segments are marked with ventral creeping welts, the anal pad, anus, papillae, and posterior spiracles. Ventral creeping welts are thought to aid in locomotion, while the anal pad acts as an osmoregulatory structure. Posterior spiracles are modified from round spiracular discs with two straight slits in the first instar to triangular discs with two and three sinuous slits in the second and third instars, respectively.
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Vol. 52 • No. 4