The effect of heat shock (15 min at 48 °C) on segmentation has been investigated in the short germ embryo of the locust (Schistocerca gregaria). Prior to formation of the germ anlage and at the disc stage heat shock considerably reduced the survival of eggs but appeared to have little effect upon segmentation. At later stages heat shock had no effect on survival but resulted in disruptions of the segmental pattern. The location of abnormal segments depended upon the stage at heat shock and the number affected depended on its severity. A constant number of normal segments developed between the last segment visible at the time of heat shock and the first abnormal segment. These results are similar to the disruptions observed in amphibian somites following heat shock. However, different parts of the segment pattern varied in their response; the head segments were very rarely affected, and disrupted regions rarely started in the middle abdomen (segments A5 and A6).
The results are discussed in relation to two models (the clock and wavefront and progress zone models) that have been proposed as an explanation for the specification of the somite pattern in amphibians.