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Mechanism of Abdominal Extension during Oviposition in Locusta


THE adult female of Locusta migratoria digs a hole about 8–9 cm deep in sand in which to lay her eggs. The normal length of the ovipositing part of the abdomen is about 2.5 cm. Part of the increase in length is achieved by unfolding the telescoped intersegmental membranes, giving a two-fold extension. The rest of the increase is achieved by stretching a thickened part of the intersegmental membrane1 (Fig. 1A and B) by up to ten times the unstretched length. The possible mechanisms involved in stretching the abdomen, and some of the mechanical properties which might be expected of the intersegmental membrane if the proposed mechanism for extension is correct, are discussed.

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    Agarwala, S. B. D., Indian J. Ent., 13, 147; 14, 61 (1951).

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    Uvarov, Sir B., Grasshoppers and Locusts, 1, 324 (Cambridge University Press, 1966).

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    Woodrow, D. F., thesis, Univ. London (1963).

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    Grasse, P. P., Bull. Biol., 56, 545 (1922).

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