Eur. J. Entomol. 110 (1): 165-172, 2013 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2013.024

Life in two dimensions or keeping your head down: Lateral exuvial splits in leaf-mining larvae of Pachyschelus (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) and Cameraria (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae)

Vasily V. GREBENNIKOV
Ottawa Plant Laboratory, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, K.W. Neatby Bldg., 960 Carling Ave., Ottawa, ON, K1A 0C6, Canada; e-mail: vasily.grebennikov@inspection.gc.ca

This paper describes previously unreported lateral cuticle splits occurring during the moulting of larvae of the leaf-miners Pachyschelus laevigatus (Say, 1839) (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) and Cameraria sp. (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). In these species the cuticle does not split dorsally during the larval/larval moults as in most insects, but laterally, thus permitting the larva to leave its exuviae sideways rather than vertically. This previously overlooked phenomenon is hypothesized to have evolved independently in both taxa and is an adaptation to life in the vertically limited space of their mines and, therefore, might be found in other organisms confined to similar conditions. The exuvial split in the larva to pupa moult of Cameraria sp. taking place inside a relatively tick and firm cocoon is, however, of the regular dorso-medial type, and, therefore, two different successive types of moult occur within a single ontogenesis. For comparative purposes the common dorsal exuvial split is described and illustrated for the leaf-mining larvae of Profenusa alumna (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae), Sumitrosis rosea (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) and the free-living Satonius fui (Coleoptera: Torridincolidae).

Keywords: Leaf-mining, moult, exuviae, larvae, Buprestidae, Pachyschelus, Gracillariidae, Cameraria

Received: November 21, 2011; Accepted: October 29, 2012; Published: January 2, 2013

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