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Journal of Experimental Biology partnership with Dryad

Control of Moulting and Metamorphosis in the Tobacco Hornworm, Manduca Sexta (L.): Cessation of Juvenile Hormone Secretion as a Trigger for Pupation


During the final larval instar of the tobacco hornworm the presence of juvenile hormone (JH) inhibits the secretion of the brain's prothoracicotropic hormone (PTTH). The corpora allata cease to secrete JH when the larvae attain a weight of approximately 5 g. The JH is cleared from the haemolymph in about 24 h. This process in itself renders the brain competent to release PTTH. The actual release of PTTH occurs at the very first photo-periodic gate after the JH has disappeared from the haemolymph. A functional failure of this normal mechanism is apparently responsible for the developmental standstill of Lepidoptera which diapause as mature larvae.