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Mechanisms of Life History EvolutionThe Genetics and Physiology of Life History Traits and Trade-Offs$
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Thomas Flatt and Andreas Heyland

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199568765

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199568765.001.0001

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The genetic and endocrine basis for the evolution of metamorphosis in insects

The genetic and endocrine basis for the evolution of metamorphosis in insects

Chapter 5 The genetic and endocrine basis for the evolution of metamorphosis in insects
Mechanisms of Life History Evolution

Deniz F. Erezyilmaz

Oxford University Press

The class Insecta is an ideal model for the study of complex life histories and their evolution. In this group, direct development is ancestral, and complete metamorphosis arose as a monophyletic group from incompletely metamorphosing ancestors. All insects share a common endocrine mechanism that regulates moulting and the progression of postembryonic development. The steroid hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone triggers moulting from one stage to another, while the presence of juvenile hormones regulates the identity of the cuticle that is laid down at each stage. This chapter revisits the view that alterations to this fundamental mechanism have given rise to metamorphosis and other polymorphisms within the insects.

Keywords:   holometabola, insects, ecdysteroids, juvenile hormone, metamorphosis, direct development, life history evolution

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