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A study of the role of the wings and their musculature in the flight of Oncopeltus fasciatus (heteroptera) Hewson, Rosemary June

Abstract

Experiments were conducted to test the relative importance of the two pairs of wing and the flight musculature of Oncopeltus fasciatus. Further, the postembryonic development of this musculature was investigated. It is shown that flight is impossible with only the hind-wings present. The fore-wings are the major propulsive organs, with the hind-wings providing only a part of the lift component. The hind-wings are operated by the mesothoracic musculature acting through a hook mechanism which joins the two pairs of wings together. The development of the mesothoracic muscles is shown to be in two stages; the first involves the degeneration of the original muscle fibres present in the first instar insect, the second involves the aggregation of myoblasts to form fibres which mature by about the third day after the moult into the adult stage. Some evolutionary comments are offered on how the developmental processes described in this thesis, compare with those previously described in other insect orders.

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