Ultramorphology of digestive tract of Anticarsia gemmatalis (Hübner, 1818) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) at final larval development

Sheila Michele Levy, Ângela Maria Ferreira Falleiros, Flávio Moscardi, Elisa Aparecida Gregório, Luis Antônio Toledo


The digestive tract of insects is an important natural, physical, and chemical defense barrier against pathogen invasion. Certain lepidopteran caterpillars are serious pests of agricultural crops and their biology has received much attention, but little is known about the larval noctuid gut. The morphological analysis of the digestive tract in Anticarsia gemmatalis under scanning electron microscopy (SEM) is a good model for studies about its defense mechanism. The material was fixed (2,5% glutaraldehyde solution; 0.1M-phosphate buffer, pH 7.3), post-fixed (1% osmium tetroxide in the same buffer), dried at critical point, gold coated and analyzed in a SEM 515-Philips. A. gemmatalis digestive tract consists of a straight duct of varying length and diameter, subdivided in three main regions: the foregut formed by the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, and crop; the midgut that is the largest portion of the digestive tract without noticeable morphological differentiation along its length; and the hindgut that is morphologically differentiated in pylorus, ileum, colon, and rectum. Although the general morphology of the A. gemmatalis digestive tract is quite similar to the other Lepidoptera species, the anatomical array of the crop muscular layers is quite different comparing with the description for other larval insect.


Scanning electron microscopy; Digestive tube; Velvet bean caterpillar.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5433/1679-0359.2008v29n2p313

Semina: Ciênc. Agrár.
Londrina - PR
E-ISSN 1679-0359
DOI: 10.5433 / 1679-0359
E-mail:  semina.agrarias@uel.br
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