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      Urticating Hairs in Arthropods: Their Nature and Medical Significance

        1 , 2 , 2 , 3

      Annual Review of Entomology

      Annual Reviews

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          Abstract

          The ecological phenomenon of arthropods with defensive hairs is widespread. These urticating hairs can be divided into three categories: true setae, which are detachable hairs in Lepidoptera and in New World tarantula spiders; modified setae, which are stiff hairs in lepidopteran larvae; and spines, which are complex and secretion-filled structures in lepidopteran larvae. This review focuses on the true setae because their high density on a large number of common arthropod species has great implications for human and animal health. Morphology and function, interactions with human tissues, epidemiology, and medical impact, including inflammation and allergy in relation to true setae, are addressed. Because data from epidemiological and other clinical studies are ambiguous with regard to frequencies of setae-caused allergic reactions, other mechanisms for setae-mediated disease are suggested. Finally, we briefly discuss current evidence for the adaptive and ecological significance of true setae.

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          Avoiding Attack

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            The complex business of survival by aposematism.

            The theory of warning signals dates back to Wallace but is still confusing, controversial and complex. Because predator avoidance of warningly coloured prey (aposematism) is based upon learning and reinforcement, it is difficult to understand how initially rare conspicuous forms subsequently become common. Here, we discuss several possible resolutions to this apparent paradox. Many of these ideas have been largely ignored as a result of implicit assumptions about predator behaviour and assumed lack of variation in the predators, prey and the predation process. Considering the spatial and temporal variation in and mechanisms of behaviour of both predators and prey will make it easier to understand the process and evolution of aposematism.
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              Chitin regulation of immune responses: an old molecule with new roles.

              Chitin, the second most abundant polysaccharide in nature, is commonly found in lower organisms such as fungi, crustaceans, and insects, but not in mammals. Although the non-specific anti-viral and anti-tumor activities of chitin/chitin derivatives were described two decades ago, the immunological effects of chitin have been only recently been addressed. Recent studies demonstrated that chitin has complex and size-dependent effects on innate and adaptive immune responses including the ability to recruit and activate innate immune cells and induce cytokine and chemokine production via a variety of cell surface receptors including macrophage mannose receptor, toll-like receptor 2 (TLR-2), and Dectin-1. They also demonstrated adjuvant effects of chitin in allergen-induced type 1 or type 2 inflammation and provided insights into the important roles of chitinases and chitinase-like proteins (C/CLP) in pulmonary inflammation. The status of the field and areas of controversy are highlighted.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Annual Review of Entomology
                Annu. Rev. Entomol.
                Annual Reviews
                0066-4170
                1545-4487
                January 07 2011
                January 07 2011
                : 56
                : 1
                : 203-220
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Environmental Agronomy, University of Padova, Legnaro I-35020 Italy; email:
                [2 ]Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital Solna, L08:00, Stockholm, S-17176 Sweden; email: ;
                [3 ]Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, S-75007 Sweden; email:
                Article
                10.1146/annurev-ento-120709-144844
                20809805
                © 2011

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