Fine structure of the midgut and Malpighian papillae in Campodea (Monocampa) quilisi Silvestri, 1932 (Hexapoda, Diplura) with special reference to the metal composition and physiological significance of midgut intracellular electron-dense granules
The fine structure of the midgut and the Malpighian papillae in Campodea (Monocampa) quilisi Silvestri, 1932 (Hexapoda, Diplura) specimens was described. We observed the presence of electron-dense granules (EDGs) in the midgut epithelial cells, similar in genesis, structure and aspect to the type A spherocrystals described in the midgut epithelium of Collembola and Diplopoda. Energy-dispersive X-ray microanalysis was used to detect the chemical composition of the granules and to relate it to the concentrations of some potential toxic heavy metals (Pb, Cu, Zn) in soil and litter. Chemical composition of the granules seems strongly influenced by the presence and bioavailability of heavy metals in the external environment. Specimens from a contaminated abandoned mining and smelting area (Colline Metallifere, southern Tuscany) were able to accumulate Fe, Mn, Zn, Pb and Cu in their midgut EDGs. In addition, we observed that C. (M.) quilisi was able to excrete the metal-containing granules into the external medium by the moulting of the intestinal epithelium. This confirms that the process of ionic retention of midgut cells is particularly significant in animals lacking Malpighian tubules.