Publications

The Jewel Wasp Standard Brain: Average shape atlas and morphology of the female Nasonia vitripennis brain

Groothuis, J.; Pfeiffer, K.; Jundi, B. el; Smid, Hans M.

Summary

Nasonia, a genus of parasitoid wasps, is a promising model system in the study of developmental and evolutionary genetics, as well as complex traits such as learning. Of these “jewel wasps”, the species Nasonia vitripennis is widely spread and widely studied. To accelerate neuroscientific research in this model species, fundamental knowledge of its nervous system is needed. To this end, we present an average standard brain of recently eclosed naïve female N. vitripennis wasps obtained by the iterative shape averaging method. This “Jewel Wasp Standard Brain” includes the optic lobe (excluding the lamina), the anterior optic tubercle, the antennal lobe, the lateral horn, the mushroom body, the central complex, and the remaining unclassified neuropils in the central brain. Furthermore, we briefly describe these well-defined neuropils and their subregions in the N. vitripennis brain. A volumetric analysis of these neuropils is discussed in the context of brains of other insect species. The Jewel Wasp Standard Brain will provide a framework to integrate and consolidate the results of future neurobiological studies in N. vitripennis. In addition, the volumetric analysis provides a baseline for future work on age- and experience-dependent brain plasticity.