Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

Determination of larval instars in Chironomus sancticaroli (Diptera: Chironomidae) using novel head capsule structures

S. Richardi, ViniciusRebechi, DéboraM. R. Aranha, JoséA. Navarro-Silva, Mário

Determining the age composition of a population is important when conducting ecological, taxonomic and environmental assessments. Morphometric measurements of the head capsule, especially the length and width, are widely used in the identification of insect instars, but alternative ways for determining the age of insects can expand the options for the analysis of field and laboratory populations. This study evaluated the morphometry of the antennae, mandibles, mentum and ventromental plates to discriminate among the four larval instars of Chironomus sancticaroli Strixino & Strixino, 1981. The larvae were reared in the laboratory under constant temperature (25°C) and photoperiod of 12/12 hours for 19 days, with a supply of food. Fifteen larvae were removed randomly every day, cleared in KOH, and slide-mounted, and had the antennae, mandibles, mentum and ventromental plates measured. The dimensions of the four structures studied allowed us to statistically distinguish each of the four larval instars. The data fit an exponential equation according to the Brooks-Dyar rule, which allows an estimate of the larval instar of specimens collected in the field, even when development takes place under different conditions. The duration of each instar was also obtained from our data, and showed an overlap of instars during development.

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