Eur. J. Entomol. 105 (4): 697-706, 2008 | 10.14411/eje.2008.095

The developmental process during metamorphosis that results in wing reduction in females of three species of wingless-legged bagworm moths, Taleporia trichopterella, Bacotia sakabei and Proutia sp. (Lepidoptera: Psychidae)

Shuhei NIITSU1, Yukimasa KOBAYASHI2
1 Department of Natural History, Graduate School of Sciences and
2 Laboratory of Systematic Zoology, Department of Biological Science, Graduate School of Sciences and Engineering, Tokyo Metropolitan University, 1-1 Minami-Ohsawa, Hachioji-shi 192-0397, Japan; e-mail:

There are several evolutionary grades of wing reduction in female bagworm moths of the family Psychidae. In this family, female adults of Taleporia trichopterella, Bacotia sakabei and Proutia sp. have vestigial wings, although as pupae they have small wings. Consequently, these species (usually called wingless-legged bagworm moths), are intermediate between the two extremes of females with normal wings and those with no wings. Using light and electron microscopy, the processes of wing development during the last-larval instar and wing degeneration during the pupal stage was investigated in these species. Female wing imaginal discs proliferated during the last-larval instar, but diminished due to apoptosis in the prepupal stage of the last instar. In the pupal stage, degenerate cells were observed between the epithelia of the degenerating wing discs of the female. The presence of these cells is associated with apoptotic cell death. These observations suggest that female-specific wing degeneration caused by apoptosis occurs in two steps in these bagworm moths, i.e. in the larval and pupal stages. Such a process of wing reduction has not been previously reported in holometabolous insects, and is reported here for the first time in bagworm moths.

Keywords: Psychidae, wingless-legged bagworm moth, wing reduction, apoptosis

Received: April 20, 2007; Accepted: January 8, 2008; Published: October 24, 2008

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