The integument protects the organism against penetration of xenobiotics and water that would potentially interfere with homeostasis. In insects that play key roles in a variety of agricultural and ecological habitats this inward barrier is barely investigated. In order to advance in this field, we studied integumental barrier (cuticle) permeability in the two global pests Trialeurodes vaporariorum (greenhouse whitefly) and Cimex lectularius (bedbug) applying a simple dye-penetration assay. In agreement with our recent findings in Drosophila melanogaster, we show that the surface of these insects is regionalised. We also show that, in contrast to the single barrier in D. melanogaster, two barriers with distinct temperature-sensitive and lipid-based phyisco-chemical material properties act in parallel to protect these insects against penetration of hydrophilic molecules. These findings imply the existence of unexplored mechanisms by which the cuticle acts as a protective coat against penetration of water and xenobiotics including pollutants and insecticides.
- Received January 17, 2017.
- Accepted January 31, 2017.
- © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd