Student Research Projects

Ovipositor Morphology of Four Species of Harvestmen (Glysterus sp., Stygnomma fuhrmani, Stygnoplus clavotibialis, Vima intermedia)

Student Melinda Bertram '15
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Biology
Course BIO 400: Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)


Female harvestmen have flexible, relatively short ovipositors. Little is known about the intraspecific or interspecific variation in the external features of the ovipositor and they have rarely been examined. Recently, research has argued the importance of examining variation in ovipositor morphology. My research objectives for this study were to observe variation in the distal tip of the setae and the texture on the shaft of the setae and to evaluate the suitability of the ovipositor as a source of informative characters that could aid in a more accurate taxonomy of harvestmen. Within the four species that I observed, there was considerable interspecific variation in the number of peripheral setae, the distribution and morphology of the setae, the morphology and structure of distal tips of the setae and the surface texture of the setae shaft on the ovipositor. The results of my study indicate that there are several features associated with ovipositor morphology among harvestmen that may represent informative taxonomic characters.