How evolutionary miniaturization in insects influences their organs

3-D type of Megaphragma mymaripenne, one of the smallest insects inside the entire world. Credit: Alexey Polilov

Scientists via the Faculty of Biology of the Lomonosov Moscow State University have studied how the organs of microinsects change sizes inside the process of evolution. Looking ahead, principles in addition to also regularities of miniaturization in animals could be applied in biotechnology in addition to also robotization. The researchers have presented their project in Scientific reports.


Biologist Alexey Polilov, the article author, says, “The project idea was to estimate how different insect organs react to body size modifications. We focused on miniaturization—namely, evolutionary reduction to extremely little sizes. We wanted to find out what happens to the structure of organs when insect body sizes decrease via one centimeter up to tenths of a millimeter. This particular will be necessary to understand what remains the same in addition to also what modifications in an insect body.”

Miniaturization, or reduction in body size, appears to be one of the main tendencies of insect evolution, as a result of which they can become the size of unicellular organisms. Among the smallest insects are Coleoptera in addition to also Hymenoptera, Mymaridae. They are fractions of a millimeter, in addition to also in which’s very difficult to see them with the unaided eye. These insects emerged hundreds of millions years ago, in addition to also they have been evolving all This particular time up to present day.

Microinsects are abundant, found in cities, in parks, mountains in addition to also forests. nevertheless the greatest populations are in low latitudes in addition to also the tropics. Their wings are not blade-like, as are the wings of dragonflies, nevertheless feather-like, consisting of a vein with bristles along the edges.

The biologists analyzed a vast amount of data obtained over the last 10 years. They created 30 complete in addition to also 26 partial 3-D computer reconstructions for 22 insect species of 11 families¸ belonging to several orders (Thysanura, Psocoptera, Thysanoptera, Coleoptera, in addition to also Hymenoptera). They studied insects of various sizes—their body volumes differed by a factor of more than 150,000. On the basis on these versions, the biologists have analyzed relative volumes of insect organs.

Alexey Polilov says, “We’ve revealed the fact in which the majority insect organ systems demonstrate great opportunities for scaling—they constrain constant proportions by multiple modifications of body sizes. Organ systems maintain their structure ,in addition to also some of them even maintain constant relative volume, despite multiple reductions in sizes.”

The scientists discovered in which metabolic systems,internal tissues in addition to also tracheal systems decrease proportionally to the reduction in body sizes, even inside the smallest insects. By contrast, reproductive in addition to also nervous systems demonstrate multiple increases in relative volume, even as the body sizes decrease.

The scientist says, “in which seems in which these very systems limit minimal body sizes in insects. Our results, compared with scientific literature on vertebrate animals, show in which at the same allometry scales, most organs in vertebrates change non-proportionally. So we’ve shown in which insect structure will be better adapted to scaling, in addition to also especially to reduction in body sizes.”


Explore further:
Scientists discover parts of organs ‘have minds of their own’ when in which comes to growth

More information:
Alexey A. Polilov et al, The scaling in addition to also allometry of organ size associated with miniaturization in insects: A case study for Coleoptera in addition to also Hymenoptera, Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1038/srep43095

Journal reference:
Scientific Reports

Provided by:
Lomonosov Moscow State University

How evolutionary miniaturization in insects influences their organs

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