The Adult Drosophila Midgut

The midgut of insects is responsible for most of the digestion and absorption of food. In Drosophila, the larva midgut is replaced with an adult midgut in the pupa stage. How does this happen? The midgut of the larva has large midgut epithelial cells with numerous much smaller cells. The cells form the tube that is the larva midgut. On the hemolymph side, the cells are attached to a basement membrane surrounded by muscles. During pupa formation, the large cells detach from the basement membrane as the small cells spread along the basement membrane to form a tube. The new midgut is formed from the small cells, with the detached larger larval cells in the lumen. The cells of the gastric caeca are also shed into the lumen of the new gut. The new gut shortens and packages the old larval cells into a yellowish green mass. The cells degrade and release their nutrients for use by the developing midgut. Thus, the larva midgut cells are entirely replaced with new, cells and a different anatomy.


Gut of the Adult Drosophila Image: Flygut

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an 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.
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