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Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2009 Jun;153(2):174-80. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2009.02.006. Epub 2009 Feb 10.

Mechanism of hemolymph circulation in the pupal leg of tenebrionid beetle Zophobas atratus.

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Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka 812-8581, Japan. <>


The long legs of insects require adequate hemolymph flow for maintaining their metabolism and functions. The visualization of hemolymph flow in a pupal leg of the tenebrionid beetle Zophobas atratus revealed that, in addition to a general circuit across all segments (podomeres) of the leg, there were two shortcut channels running within the femur, which is the largest podomere. A unidirectional hemolymph flow was forced by periodic pumping movements of the abdomen and regulated by a valve that exhibited a metamorphic change from a tongue-shaped to a flap-shaped structure. The results suggest that insects with a simple (open) circulatory system have evolved a sophisticated circulatory mechanism that distribute hemolymph adequately to the individual podomeres, which have diverse morphologies and functions.

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