Metabolism of Insect Cuticular Lipids
Reference work entry
Insect cuticular lipids, also called cuticular waxes, consist of a complex mixture of very long chain compounds with low reactivity and rather high melting point. They provide a variety of functions ranging from water-proofing properties to chemical cues (sexual attractants, deterrents, defensive secretions, kairomones), as well as barrier against microbial or chemical penetration. Among the most usual and major lipid components of the epicuticle are hydrocarbons, fatty alcohols, wax esters, and free fatty acids. They have been reported for more than a hundred species. Minor components include ketones, aldehydes, acetate esters, sterol esters, and less frequently, acylglycerols. Different chain length, branching pattern, substitution, and or unsaturation, determine characteristic blends for different orders, although their relative amounts depend on a variety of internal and external factors: developmental stage, sex, feeding status, reproduction cycle, etc (Fig. 32).
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