Insects and Crustacea

  • F. S. Billett
  • A. E. Wild


Significant developmental studies in the arthropod phylum have been largely confined to insects and this chapter reflects this situation. We have deliberately ignored myriapods and arachnids and the crustaceans receive only brief attention. Many insects are easy to keep and they breed quickly in captivity. Under laboratory conditions their life histories may be studied easily and the cultures will provide a wealth of eggs and larval forms. An additional advantage is the existence, in several laboratory bred cultures of insects, of deleterious genes which affect all stages of development, including the formation of the egg itself. For teaching purposes, however, the nature of most insect eggs makes the early stages of development difficult to observe and understand. This is not true of the the larval forms, some of which have proved extremely useful for demonstrating certain aspects of post-embryonic growth and development. As an introduction to the study of insect development, and to give some idea of the kind of practical work which is feasible with this group, we have selected three insects for detailed treatment, namely, Locusta (the locust), Calliphora (the blow fly) and Drosophila (the fruit fly). Before describing them in detail we feel it would be helpful to place these examples in a more general context by giving a brief outline of the main features of insect development and then to indicate the significance of the practicals described. This introductory guide is necessarily brief. For comprehensive and more carefully qualified accounts of insect development reference should be made to standard texts and specialist reviews (e.g. Imms, 1957; Johannsen and Butt, 1941; Krause and Sander, 1962; Wigglesworth, 1965; Anderson, 1966; Counce and Waddington, 1972).


Salivary Gland Polytene Chromosome Nurse Cell Animal Development Larval Form 
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Copyright information

© F. S. Billett and A. E. Wild 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. S. Billett
    • 1
  • A. E. Wild
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of SouthamptonUK

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