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Improvement and Termination of House Building in the Caddis Larva Lepidostoma Hirtum Curtis

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A 5th instar larva of Lepidostoma hirtum is found in the wild in a house of regularly cut leaf panels; however it was shown that, if a larva was removed from this house, it first built a house of sand grains before building onto the front of that, a leaf panel house. The most anterior panels of the house from which the larva had been removed obtained a higher score, as measured by a number of panel features, than the most posterior panels of the reconstructed house. As house reconstruction progressed, however, the panel scores rose until they reached their previous level. When the reconstructed leaf panel portion of the house covered the body of the larva, it cut away the sand grain portion. A larva with anal hooks and hairs removed reconstructed a house that was longer in both sand and leaf portions than that of an intact larva. It differed from an intact larva in not cutting off the sand grain portion of the reconstructed house, and also in the improvement of leaf panel cutting along the length of a reconstructed house. A mechanism controlling the changes in house building is suggested to account for the observed differences between intact and operated animals.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, University of Glasgow, Scotland


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