A heat shock (of 15min at 48° C) given to early embryos of the locust, Schistocerca gregaria, results in localized abnormalities in the segment pattern subsequently formed. Most defects involve two consecutive segments of the thorax or abdomen, and these are analysed in detail. The abdominal defects fall into three main classes each of which involves the absence of a particular region of the segment pair and, in one class, duplication of the region which remains. The thoracic defects similarly involve absence of parts of the segments and the formation of a single limb base from which one, two, or three limbs develop.
Heat shock may result in the absence of parts of segments in two distinct ways. It may interfere with the process of segmentation or it may delete parts of already formed segment primordia. These possibilities are discussed although, at present, neither can be excluded.
The duplication observed in some abdominal disruptions and the formation of triple limbs indicates that the absence of parts of embryonic segments is followed by pattern regulation similar to that occurring in regeneration studies on larval segments and appendages of other insects. Two out of the three classes of abnormality can be explained in terms of intercalary regeneration restoring pattern continuity, but it is possible that discontinuities persist in the remaining class.