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Mechanical properties of elytra from Tribolium castaneum wild-type and body color mutant strains
- Cuticle tanning in insects involves simultaneous cuticular pigmentation and hardening or sclerotization. The dynamic mechanical properties of the highly modified and cuticle-rich forewings (elytra) from Tribolium castaneum (red flour beetle) wild-type and body color mutant strains were investigated to relate body coloration and elytral mechanical properties. There was no statistically significant variation in the storage modulus E′ among the elytra from jet, cola, sooty and black mutants or between the mutants and the wild-type GA-1 strain: E′ averaged 5.1 ± 0.6 GPa regardless of body color. E′ is a power law function of oscillation frequency for all types. The power law exponent, n, averaged 0.032 ± 0.001 for elytra from all genotypes except black; this small value indicated that the elytra are cross-linked. Black elytra, however, displayed a significantly larger n of 0.047 ± 0.004 and an increased loss tangent (tan δ), suggesting that metabolic differences in the black mutant strain result in elytra that are less cross-linked and more pigmented than the other types. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that black elytra have a β-alanine-deficient and dopamine-abundant metabolism, leading to greater melanin (black pigment) production, probably at the expense of cross-linking of cuticular proteins mediated by N-β-alanyldopamine quinone.
Lomakin, Joseph , Arakane, Yasuyuki , Kramer, Karl J. , Beeman, Richard W. , Kanost, Michael R. , Gehrke, Stevin H.
Tribolium castaneum , mutants , insect morphology , insect cuticle , pigmentation , mechanical properties , wings , sclerotization
- Includes references
- Journal of insect physiology 2010 Dec., v. 56, issue 12
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
- Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.