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The insect antenna: segmentation, patterning and positional homology

A. Minelli

Abstract

The basic mechanism by which the antennal flagellum is subdivided into flagellomeres is probably the same in all insects, irrespective of whether the process occurs in the embryo, in the eye/antenna imaginal disc, or through a series of post-embryonic increments punctuated by moults. The ultimate origin of (all?) flagellomeres is the first antennomere following the pedicel, from which split off in apical direction new primary flagellomeres, each of which is eventually the source of secondary flagellomeres, according to specific spatial and temporal patterns subject to heterochrony. Only a detailed knowledge of the underlying segmentation processes could provide the ultimate background for determining positional homology between flagellomeres of two antennae with different number of antennomeres. The antennae of the Heteroptera are likely re-segmented, as their second antennomere seems to include a flagellar component. The larval antennae of the holometabolans are temporal serial homologues of those of the adult, but their segmental composition is problematic. Significant progress will be done by understanding what differentiates antennomeres that divide, either embryonically or post-embryonically, from those that do not; and by discovering whether the spatial and temporal pattern of division along the flagellum depends on local cues, or on signals travelling along the whole proximo-distal axis of the appendage.

Keywords

Heterochrony; Meriston; Pentatomidae; Positional homology; Resegmentation

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Submitted: 2017-03-02 18:36:51
Published: 2017-04-21 12:04:01
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