Meiotic chromosomes and nucleolar behavior in testicular cells of the grassland spittlebugs Deois flavopicta, Mahanarva fimbriolata and Notozulia entreriana (Hemiptera, Auchenorrhyncha)
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Spittlebugs annually infest pastures and cause severe damage, representing a serious problem for the tropical American beef cattle industry. Spittlebugs are an important biotic constraint to forage production and there is a lack of cytogenetic data for this group of insects. For these reasons, we conducted this work, in which the spermatogenesis and nucleolar behavior of Deois flavopicta, Mahanarva fimbriolata and Notozulia entreriana were studied. The males possessed testes in the shape of a bunch of grapes; a variable number of testicular lobes per individual and polyploid nuclei composed of several heteropycnotic bodies. A heteropycnotic area was located in the periphery of the nucleus (prophase I); the chiasmata were terminal or interstitial; metaphases I were circular or linear and anaphase showed late migration of the sex chromosome. The chromosome complement had 2n = 19, except for N. entreriana (2n = 15); the spermatids were round with heteropycnotic material in the center and elongated with conspicuos chromatin. The analysis of testes after silver nitrate staining showed polyploid nuclei with three large and three smaller nucleolar bodies. Early prophase cells had an intensely stained nucleolar body located close to the chromatin and another less evident body located away from the chromatin. The nucleolar bodies disintegrated during diplotene. Silver staining occurred in two autosomes, in terminal and subterminal locations, the latter probably corresponding to the nucleolus organizer regions (NORs). The spermatids were round with a round nucleolar body and silver staining was observed in the medial and posterior region of the elongated part of the spermatid head.