Most larval external muscles in Manduca sexta degenerate at pupation, with the exception of the accessory planta retractor muscles (APRMs) in proleg-bearing abdominal segment 3 and their homologs in non-proleg-bearing abdominal segment 2. In pupae, these APRMs exhibit a rhythmic ‘pupal motor pattern’ in which all four muscles contract synchronously at approximately 4 s intervals for long bouts, without externally visible movements. On the basis of indirect evidence, it was proposed previously that APRM contractions during the pupal motor pattern circulate hemolymph in the developing wings and legs. This hypothesis was tested in the present study by making simultaneous electromyographic recordings of APRM activity and contact thermographic recordings of hemolymph flow in pupal wings. APRM contractions and hemolymph flow were strictly correlated during the pupal motor pattern. The proposed circulatory mechanism was further supported by the findings that unilateral ablation of APRMs or mechanical uncoupling of the wings from the abdomen essentially abolished wing hemolymph flow on the manipulated side of the body. Rhythmic contractions of intersegmental muscles, which sometimes accompany the pupal motor pattern, had a negligible effect on hemolymph flow. The conversion of larval proleg and body wall muscles to a circulatory function in pupae represents a particularly dramatic example of functional respecification during metamorphosis.
- © 1999 by Company of Biologists