A possible role for the dorsolateral protocerebral neurosecretory neurons in the trophic adaptations of Lymantria dispar (Lepidoptera : Lymantriidae)
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The activity and number of protocerebral neurosecretory neurons of the dorsolateral group (L1, L2 and L2'), as well as the size of the corpora allata were investigated in 5th instar larvae of the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) from two populations (oak and locust-tree forests) fed one of two host-plants (oak is a suitable and locust-tree an unsuitable host-plant). The monitoring of activity related cytological parameters and the number of protocerebral dorsolateral neurosecretory neurons revealed that differently adapted populations respond to nutritive stress differently. The activity of the L1 neurosecretory neurons in the protocerebra of the caterpillars is low in those from the locust-tree forest regardless of host-plant quality. The L2 neurosecretory neurons in the oak population become active when they were fed the unsuitable host-plant whereas their activity was high in locust-tree caterpillars regardless of the host-plant. A decrease in the number of neurosecretory neurons in a response to a novel food was noticed in both populations. The activity of the L2' neurosecretory neurons was similar in all caterpillars, but their number was increased in those from the locust-tree forest. The corpora allata of the locust-tree caterpillars were large whereas those of the oak forest caterpillars only increased in size when they were fed locust-tree leaves. It is obvious that nutritive stress results in neurosecretory reorganization and changes in the titre of hormones that modulate the morphogenetic programme.