Development of the mouthparts in the cicada Meimuna mongolica (Distant) is investigated here for the first time using scanning electron microscopy in order to document changes occurring in different nymphal instars and from nymph to adult, during which a shift from subterranean root-feeding to feeding on aboveground parts of the host plant occurs. The structure and component of mouthparts is similar to those found in other hemipteran insects. Fourteen types of sensilla and five types of cuticular processes were found on the mouthparts of nymphs and adults. Significant general transformations during development include changes in: (a) the size and shape of the labrum from square to long and shovel-shaped; (b) increases in type and quantity of sensilla with the stage of development; (c) the ridges at the tips of the mandiblar stylets become more prominent in later stages of nymphal development, while odontoid protrusions more prominent in the female than in the male of the adult; and (d) the cross section of the stylets is subcircular in nymphal stages but oblong elliptical in the adult. The implications of these mouthpart transformations on the feeding ability of nymphs and adults and their possible relationship to the feeding niche are discussed.
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