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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / Ecophysiology of dorsal versus ventral cuticle in flattened sawfly larvae.

Jean-Luc Boevé and Sergio Angeli (2010)

Ecophysiology of dorsal versus ventral cuticle in flattened sawfly larvae.

Die Naturwissenschaften, 97(6):595–9.

Platycampus larvae are highly cryptic leaf feeders characterised by a dorso-ventrally flattened body, the dorsal integument resembling a shield. Dorsal and ventral cuticles from Platycampus luridiventris were compared by histology and gel electrophoresis. By Azan-staining, a red and a blue layer were distinguished in the dorsal cuticle, while the ventral cuticle showed one, almost uniform blue layer, as in both cuticles of control species. The two cuticles from P. luridiventris had similar amounts and sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis profiles of soluble proteins, but not insoluble proteins. One insoluble protein (MW approximately 41 kDa) was visible as a large band in the ventral cuticle only. It is likely that this protein renders the cuticle elastic, and that the dorsal, red layer is the exocuticle, mainly composed of insoluble proteins. We discuss eco-physiological implications of the exocuticle in insects. Further, data from the literature indicate that the defence strategy in P. luridiventris larvae relies on being visually cryptic towards avian predators and tactically cryptic towards arthropod predators and parasitoids. Crypsis in both senses is favoured by the shield effect, itself based on an abnormally thick dorsal exocuticle. Although the larvae are external feeders, they may be considered as hidden from an ecological perspective.

Peer Review, Impact Factor, International Redaction Board, RBINS Collection(s)
Predatory Behavior, Animals, Larva, insects, ecosystem, hymenoptera, Larva: anatomy & histology, Insect Proteins: analysis, Hymenoptera: growth & development, Insects: growth & development, Larva: physiology, Birds, Insect Proteins
  • DOI: 10.1007/s00114-010-0668-9
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