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      Phase-dependent morphometric traits of the albino strain of Schistocerca gregaria (Orthoptera: Acrididae)

      Journal of Orthoptera Research

      Pensoft Publishers

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          A comparison of phase-related shifts in behavior and morphometrics of an albino strain, deficient in [His(7)]-corazonin, and a normally colored Locusta migratoria strain.

          The albino Okinawa strain of Locusta migratoria is deficient in the neurohormone [His(7)]-corazonin. This peptide induces darkening of the cuticle, one of the typical features of gregarious locusts. As part of a broader study on the possible role of [His(7)]-corazonin in phase transition, we explored whether corazonin-deficiency might be associated with differences in behavior and morphometrics between albino and normal phenotypes of L. migratoria. Using a modification of the logistic-regression assay of behavioral phase state previously derived for Schistocerca gregaria, we found that there were strain dependent behavioral differences between crowd-reared nymphs of the albino Okinawa and the normally colored African strain, with no evidence of the albino strain being obligatorily solitarious. However, upon isolation, a shift towards more solitarious behavior occurs in both strains, even more profoundly in the Okinawa albinos. A shift could also be recorded in morphometrics. The conclusion is that the albino strain, although showing some solitarious features even when crowd-reared, is not, as has been suggested, obligatory solitarious and, as a consequence, the complete absence of corazonin is not sufficient to bring about the solitarious state.
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            Knockdown of the corazonin gene reveals its critical role in the control of gregarious characteristics in the desert locust.

            The two plague locusts, Schistocerca gregaria and Locusta migratoria, exhibit density-dependent phase polyphenism. Nymphs occurring at low population densities (solitarious forms) are uniformly colored and match their body color to the background color of their habitat, whereas those occurring at high population densities (gregarious) develop black patterns. An injection of the neuropeptide, corazonin (Crz) has been shown to induce black patterns in locusts and affect the classical morphometric ratio, F/C (F, hind femur length; C, maximum head width). We herein identified and cloned the CRZ genes from S. gregaria (SgCRZ) and L. migratoria. A comparative analysis of prepro-Crz sequences among insects showed that the functional peptide was well conserved; its conservation was limited to the peptide region. Silencing of the identified SgCRZ gene in gregarious S. gregaria nymphs markedly lightened their body color and shifted the adult F/C ratio toward the value typical of solitarious forms. In addition, knockdown of the gene in solitarious nymphs strongly inhibited darkening even after a transfer to crowded conditions; however, these individuals developed black patterns after being injected with the Crz as a rescue treatment. SgCRZ was constitutively expressed in the brains of S. gregaria during nymphal development in both phases. This gene was highly expressed not only in the brain in both phases, but also in the corpora allata in the gregarious phase. This conspicuous phase-dependent difference in SgCRZ gene expression may indicate a functional role in the control of phase polyphenism in this locust.
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              Phase-related morphological changes induced by [His7]-corazonin in two species of locusts, Schistocerca gregaria and Locusta migratoria (Orthoptera: Acrididae).

               K Maeno,  T Gotoh,  S. Tanaka (2004)
              The effects of a neurohormone, [His(7)]-corazonin, on phase-related morphological traits (F/C and E/F ratios; F = length of the hind femur, C = maximum width of the head; E = length of fore wing) were re-examined in the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria Forskål. The F/C ratio was significantly different between adults with five and six nymphal instars, respectively, indicating that they need to be analysed separately. Injections of the synthesized peptide (1 nmol) into individually-reared (solitary) nymphs at the second and third instars caused a shift in classical morphometric ratio towards the value typical for crowded (gregarious) individuals in both sexes. The E/F ratio, which is smaller in solitary locusts than in gregarious ones, was also influenced significantly by injections of [His(7)]-corazonin into individually-reared locusts. The effect of [His(7)]-corazonin on E/F ratios was shown more clearly when the nymphs were injected at a higher dose (2 nmol) at the beginning of the third instar. Single injections of the peptide into individually-reared nymphs at different instars revealed that the earlier the injection the larger the 'gregarizing' effects of the peptide on F/C and E/F ratios. The same tendency was also detected in Locusta migratoria Linnaeus. These results supported the hypothesis that [His(7)]-corazonin plays an important role in the control of phase polymorphism in locusts.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Orthoptera Research
                JOR
                Pensoft Publishers
                1937-2426
                1082-6467
                October 13 2017
                October 13 2017
                : 26
                : 81-84
                Article
                10.3897/jor.26.20012
                © 2017

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