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Heredity (Edinb). 2006 Sep;97(3):192-9. Epub 2006 Jul 5.

Wing dimorphism in aphids.

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  • 1Institut Jacques Monod, CNRS, Universit├ęs Paris 6 and 7, Tour 43, 2 place Jussieu, 75251 Paris cedex 05, France.


Many species of insects display dispersing and nondispersing morphs. Among these, aphids are one of the best examples of taxa that have evolved specialized morphs for dispersal versus reproduction. The dispersing morphs typically possess a full set of wings as well as a sensory and reproductive physiology that is adapted to flight and reproducing in a new location. In contrast, the nondispersing morphs are wingless and show adaptations to maximize fecundity. In this review, we provide an overview of the major features of the aphid wing dimorphism. We first provide a description of the dimorphism and an overview of its phylogenetic distribution. We then review what is known about the mechanisms underlying the dimorphism and end by discussing its evolutionary aspects.

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