Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Metamorphosis

  • Judith H. Willis
  • John S. Willis
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_4574

Insects are the only invertebrates that fly. The development of a winged form is the culmination of metamorphosis that converts a larva capable only of moving by squirming, crawling or swimming into a flying machine.

Issues of interest in insect metamorphosis include its evolutionary origin, the source of adult structures, hormonal control, and the identity of genes that regulate metamorphosis and code for proteins that form the structures of the different metamorphic stages.

Evolution

Among the orders of insects, patterns of cellular participation in metamorphosis vary from the simplest case, adults only slightly different from larvae, their structures having arisen from the same cells, to the most advanced in which differentiated larval cells in effect commit suicide and are replaced by new cells arising from undifferentiated precursors. By examining insects in different orders we can get an idea of how metamorphosis may have evolved from simple to complex.

A few “primitive” insects...
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References

  1. Nijhout HF (1994) Insect hormones. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 267 ppGoogle Scholar
  2. Truman JW, Riddiford LM (2002) Endocrine insights into the evolution of metamorphosis in insects. Ann Rev Entomol 47:467–500CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Willis JH (1996) Metamorphosis of the cuticle, its proteins, and their genes. In: Gilbert LI, Atkinson BG, Tata J (eds) Metamorphosis/post-embryonic reprogramming of gene expression in amphibian and insect cells. Academic Press, Orlando, FL, pp 253–282Google Scholar
  4. Zhou X, Riddiford LM (2002) Broad specifies pupal development and mediates the “status quo” action of juvenile hormone on the pupal-adult transformation in Drosophilaand Manduca. Development 129:2259–2269PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith H. Willis
    • 1
  • John S. Willis
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GeorgiaAthensUSA