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Concept: Larva


A new interaction between insects and carnivorous plants is reported from Brazil. Larvae of the predatory flower fly Toxomerus basalis (Diptera: Syrphidae: Syrphinae) have been found scavenging on the sticky leaves of several carnivorous sundew species (Drosera, Droseraceae) in Minas Gerais and São Paulo states, SE Brazil. This syrphid apparently spends its whole larval stage feeding on prey trapped by Drosera leaves. The nature of this plant-animal relationship is discussed, as well as the Drosera species involved, and locations where T. basalis was observed. 180 years after the discovery of this flower fly species, its biology now has been revealed. This is (1) the first record of kleptoparasitism in the Syrphidae, (2) a new larval feeding mode for this family, and (3) the first report of a dipteran that shows a kleptoparasitic relationship with a carnivorous plant with adhesive flypaper traps. The first descriptions of the third instar larva and puparium of T. basalis based on Scanning Electron Microscope analysis are provided.

Concepts: Insect, Plant, Larva, Mosquito, Carnivorous plant, Fly, Drosera, Droseraceae


Single-domain antibodies (sdAbs), also known as nanobodies or VHHs, are characterized by high stability and solubility, thus maintaining the affinity and therapeutic value provided by conventional antibodies. Given these properties, VHHs offer a novel alternative to classical antibody approaches. To date, VHHs have been produced mainly in E. coli, yeast, plants and mammalian cells. To apply the single-domain antibodies as a preventive or therapeutic strategy to control rotavirus infections in developing countries (444,000 deaths in children under 5 years of age) has to be minimized their production costs.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Protein, Bacteria, Larva, Diarrhea, Gastroenteritis, Single domain antibody


Bilateral animals, including humans and most metazoans, are not perfectly symmetrical. Some internal structures are distributed asymmetrically to the right or left side. A conserved Nodal and BMP signaling system directs molecular pathways that impart the sidedness to those asymmetric structures. In the sea urchin embryo, one such asymmetrical structure, oddly enough, is the entire adult, which grows out of left sided structures produced in the larva. In a paper just published in PLOS Biology, BMP signaling is shown to be necessary early in larval development to initiate the asymmetric specification of one of those left-sided structures, called the left coelomic pouch. This study reports that BMP signaling activates a group of transcription factors asymmetrically in the left coelomic pouch only, which launch the pathway that eventually leads to the formation of the adult that emerges from the larva at metamorphosis.

Concepts: Insect, Developmental biology, Larva, Animal, Mesoderm, Symmetry, Metamorphosis, Asymmetry


BACKGROUND: The tick Rhipicephalus sanguineus is the species with the largest worldwide distribution and is proven to be involved in the transmission of pathogens such as Babesia canis, Ehrlichia canis, Coxiella burnetii, Rickettsia ricketsii, Rickettsia conorii, among others. Studies have demonstrated acquisition of resistance to some of the active principles used in commercial formulations of acaricides. Tagetes patula (Asteraceae) is a plant with highlighted economic and commercial importance due to the production of secondary metabolites with insecticide and acaricide potential, mainly flavonoids, thiophenes and terpenes. METHODS: The in vitro acaricide action of the ethanolic 70% extract from aerial parts of T. patula, obtained by percolation, was evaluated against larvae and engorged adult females of Rhipicephalus sanguineus by immersion test for 5 minutes. The chemical characterization of this extract was done by liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (LC-MS), using direct injection of sample. RESULTS: Despite T. patula not proving lethal to adults in any of the concentrations tested, at 50.0 mg/mL oviposition rate decreased by 21.5% and eliminated 99.78% of the larvae. Also it was determined that the best results were obtained with 5 minutes of immersion. From the chromatographic analysis twelve O-glycosylated flavonoids were identified. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report on the acaricidal activity of T. patula extract against Rh. sanguineus. If we consider the application of the product in the environment, we could completely eliminate the larval stage of development of the ixodid Rh. sanguineus.

Concepts: Larva, Coxiella burnetii, Q fever, Chromatography, Analytical chemistry, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, Asteraceae, Tagetes patula


INTRODUCTION: One of the most interesting riddles within crustaceans is the origin of Cladocera (water fleas). Cladocerans are morphologically diverse and in terms of size and body segmentation differ considerably from other branchiopod taxa (Anostraca, Notostraca, Laevicaudata, Spinicaudata and Cyclestherida). In 1876, the famous zoologist Carl Claus proposed with regard to their origin that cladocerans might have evolved from a precociously maturing larva of a clam shrimp-like ancestor which was able to reproduce at this early stage of development. In order to shed light on this shift in organogenesis and to identify (potential) changes in the chronology of development (heterochrony), we investigated the external and internal development of the ctenopod Penilia avirostris and compared it to development in representatives of Anostraca, Notostraca, Laevicaudata, Spinicaudata and Cyclestherida. The development of the nervous system was investigated using immunohistochemical labeling and confocal microscopy. External morphological development was followed using a scanning electron microscope and confocal microscopy to detect the autofluorescence of the external cuticle. RESULTS: In Anostraca, Notostraca, Laevicaudata and Spinicaudata development is indirect and a free-swimming nauplius hatches from resting eggs. In contrast, development in Cyclestherida and Cladocera, in which non-swimming embryo-like larvae hatch from subitaneous eggs (without a resting phase) is defined herein as pseudo-direct and differs considerably from that of the other groups. Both external and internal development in Anostraca, Notostraca, Laevicaudata and Spinicaudata is directed from anterior to posterior, whereas in Cyclestherida and Cladocera differentiation is more synchronous. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, developmental sequences from representatives of all branchiopod taxa are compared and analyzed using a Parsimov event-pairing approach. The analysis reveals clear evolutionary transformations towards Cladocera and the node of Cladoceromorpha which correspond to distinct heterochronous signals and indicate that the evolution of Cladocera was a stepwise process. A switch from a strategy of indirect development to one of pseudo-direct development was followed by a shift in a number of morphological events to an earlier point in ontogenesis and simultaneously by a reduction in the number of pre-metamorphosis molts. A compression of the larval phase as well as a shortening of the juvenile phase finally leads to a precocious maturation and is considered as a gradual progenetic process.

Concepts: Developmental biology, Larva, Crustacean, Branchiopoda, Cladocera, Daphnia, Clam shrimp, Phyllopoda


Observation of how cells divide, grow, migrate and form different parts of a developing organism is crucial for understanding developmental programs. Here, we describe a multicolor imaging tool named Raeppli (after the colorful confetti used at the carnival in Basel). Raeppli allows whole-tissue labeling such that the descendants of the majority of cells in a single organ are labeled and can be followed simultaneously relative to one another. We tested the use of Raeppli in the Drosophila melanogaster wing imaginal disc. Induction of Raeppli during larval stages irreversibly labels >90% of the cells with one of four spectrally separable, bright fluorescent proteins with low bias of selection. To understand the global growth characteristics of imaginal discs better, we induced Raeppli at various stages of development, imaged multiple fixed discs at the end of their larval development and estimated the size of their pouch primordium at those developmental stages. We also imaged the same wing disc through the larval cuticle at different stages of its development; the clones marked by Raeppli provide landmarks that can be correlated between multiple time points. Finally, we used Raeppli for continuous live imaging of prepupal eversion of the wing disc.

Concepts: Insect, Developmental biology, Larva, Model organism, Drosophila melanogaster, Drosophila, Imaginal disc, Imago


Mosquito control based on the use of Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) is regarded as an environmental friendly method. However, Bti also affects non-target chironomid midges that are recognized as a central resource in wetland food webs. To evaluate the risk for different larval stages of Chironomus riparius we performed a test series of daily acute toxicity laboratory tests following OECD guideline 235 over the entire aquatic life cycle of 28 days. Our study is the first approach that performs an OECD approved test design with Bti and C. riparius as a standard organism in ecotoxicological testing. First-instar larvae of Chironomus riparius show an increased sensitivity towards Bti which is two orders of magnitude higher than for fourth instar larvae. Most EC50 values described in the literature are based on acute toxicity tests using third and fourth instar larvae. The risk for chironomids is underestimated when applying the criteria of the biocide regulation EU 528/2012 to our data and therefore the existing assessment approval is not protective. Possible impacts of Bti induced changes in chironomid abundances and community composition may additionally affect organisms at higher trophic levels, especially in spring when chironomid midges represent a key food source for reproducing vertebrates.

Concepts: Organism, Larva, Mosquito, Trophic level, Food chain, Bacillus thuringiensis, Chironomidae, Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis


Myiasis is the infestation of organs and tissues of human and animals with fly larvae. This article reports an 18 year-old man with urogenital myiasis, the passing of live Megaselia scalaris larvae in the urine, from Zanjan City, northwest of Iran. We discourse the importance of diagnosis and management of urogenital myiasis in medicine.

Concepts: Health, Insect, Larva, Mosquito, Flies, Fly, Megaselia scalaris, Zanjan Province


Society is increasingly concerned with declining wild bee populations. Although most bees nest in the ground, considerable effort has centered on installing ‘bee hotels’-also known as nest boxes or trap nests-which artificially aggregate nest sites of above ground nesting bees. Campaigns to ‘save the bees’ often promote these devices despite the absence of data indicating they have a positive effect. From a survey of almost 600 bee hotels set up over a period of three years in Toronto, Canada, introduced bees nested at 32.9% of sites and represented 24.6% of more than 27,000 total bees and wasps recorded (47.1% of all bees recorded). Native bees were parasitized more than introduced bees and females of introduced bee species provisioned nests with significantly more female larva each year. Native wasps were significantly more abundant than both native and introduced bees and occupied almost ¾ of all bee hotels each year; further, introduced wasps were the only group to significantly increase in relative abundance year over year. More research is needed to elucidate the potential pitfalls and benefits of using bee hotels in the conservation and population dynamics of wild native bees.

Concepts: Insect, Population, Larva, Bee, Wasp, Nest, Abundance of the chemical elements, Nest box


Captive rearing of insect pests is necessary to understand their biology and to develop control methods. The avian nest fly, Philornis downsi Dodge and Aitken, is a blood-sucking parasite during its larval stage and a serious threat to endemic birds in the Galapagos Islands where it is considered invasive. In order to procure large numbers of flies for biological studies, rearing media and diets were trialed for rearing the larval stage of P. downsi under controlled conditions in the absence of its avian host. P. downsi eggs were obtained from field-caught female flies, and once eggs hatched they were reared on chicken blood for the first 3 d. Following this, three diets were tested on second- and third-instar larvae: 1) chicken blood only; 2) chicken blood, hydrolyzed protein and dried milk powder; and 3) chicken blood, hydrolyzed protein and brewer’s yeast. Out of 385 P. downsi larvae tested, we were able to rear 50 larvae to the adult stage. The highest level of mortality was found in the first-instar larvae. Survivorship of second- and third-instar larvae was similar irrespective of diet and diet did not significantly influence larval or pupal development times; though larvae fed the diet with brewer’s yeast developed marginally faster. Pupal weights were similar to those of larvae that had developed on bird hosts in the field. To our knowledge, this is the first effective protocol for rearing a hematophagous parasitic avian fly from egg to adult in the absence of a living host.

Concepts: Protein, Insect, Larva, Mosquito, Milk, Bird, Fly, Powdered milk