Morphometry of the midgut of Melipona quadrifasciata anthidioides (Lepeletier) (Hymenoptera: Apidae) during metamorphosis


Neotropical Entomology




In Hymenoptera, midgut changes begin in the last instar. At this stage, the larval epithelial digestive cells degenerate, leaving only the basal membrane and the regenerative cells which will develop into a new epithelium during the pupal stage and in the adult. Epithelium renewal is followed by changes in volume and shape of the midgut. Morphometric analysis of digestive cells and total midgut volume of Melipona quadrifasciata anthidioides (Lepeletier) were conducted to verify whether cell volume increase are sufficient to account for the total midgut volume increase that occurs during metamorphosis. An increase in midgut volume was verified in spite of the scarcity of cell proliferation found during metamorphosis. At the end of metamorphosis, the increase in cell volume was not sufficient to explain the increase in volume of the midgut, indicating that an increase in the number of digestive cells is apparently necessary. Nevertheless, the mechanism by which regenerative cells reconstitute the epithelium during metamorphosis remains unknown.

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