Male-specific flight apparatus development in Acyrthosiphon pisum (Aphididae, Hemiptera, Insecta): comparison with female wing polyphenism

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Wing polymorphisms observed in many Insecta are important topics in developmental biology and ecology; these polymorphisms are a consequence of tradeoffs between flight and other abilities. The pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, possesses 2 types of wing polymorphisms: One is a genetic wing polymorphism occurring in males, and the other is an environmental wing polyphenism seen in viviparous females. Although genetic and environmental cues for the 2 wing polymorphisms have been studied, differences in their developmental regulation have not been elucidated. In particular, there is little knowledge regarding the developmental processes in male wing polymorphism. Therefore, in this study, the development of flight apparatuses and external morphologies was compared among 3 male wing morphs (winged, wingless, and intermediate). These male developmental processes were subsequently compared with those of female wing morphs. Developmental differences between the male and female polymorphisms were identified in flight muscle development and degeneration but not in wing bud development. Furthermore, the nymphal periods of wingless and intermediate males were significantly shorter than that of winged males, indicating the adaptive significance of male winglessness. Overall, this study indicates that the male and female wing polymorphisms are based on different regulatory systems for flight apparatus development, which are probably the result of different adaptations under different selection pressures.


  • Zoomorphology

    Zoomorphology 131(3), 197-207, 2012-09

    Springer Berlin / Heidelberg


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