Stick Insects That Lose an Antenna Sometimes Regenerate a Leg.
Top: Antennae of Stick Insect. If antennae of an immature are cut on the dotted line, a leg may be regenerated during the next molt
Bottom: Stick Insect That Lost Its Antennae in the Previous Stage Has Regenerated Legs
Image: Volker Dürr
For over 100 years the derivation of insect antennae from the ancestral leg has been known. In 1914, Schmidt-Jensen studied regeneration in the stick insect and reported that sometimes after the molt, a leg appeared where an antenna should appear. We now know more about the genes involved in the regulation of appendages. These genes determine whether an appendage will be a leg, a mouthpart or an antenna.
If the antennae are cut through the pedicel, the genes that produce an antennae during the molt are not properly expressed resulting in a stick insect with legs on its head.
*Schmidt-Jensen, H.O., 1914. Homoetic regeneration of the antennae in a phasmid or walking-stick. Smithson. Rep. 1914, 523–536.
Jonathan Neal is a retired Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010).
This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog.
The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal
. Bookmark the permalink
Pingback: Altered Regeneration