Certain segmental units of the three main longitudinal muscle-bands in the abdomen of the larva of Galleria, Platysamia, Telea, Antheraea, and Samia (Philosamia) do not degenerate during the histolytic phase in the prepupa and early pupa. In the 3rd abdominal segment the amount of muscle that persists is variable; in the 4th, 5th, and 6th segments, invariable. Apart from single pairs of transverse muscles in the 2nd and 3rd segments and those of the gut and heart there are no other muscles in the pupa. Vestiges of degenerated muscles are often found in the pupa.
The longitudinal muscles which survive the transformation of the pupa into the adult degenerate during the first 2 days of adult life.
Experiments were made on larvae, prepupae, pupae, and adults in attempts to influence muscle-degeneration and muscle-persistence. Extirpation of ganglia or severance of nerves in larvae and prepupae of Galleria caused the normally persistent muscles to degenerate during pupation. Controls in which larvae were dissected before pupation revealed no degeneration of denervated muscles. In saturniids denervation also resulted in degeneration or atrophy but only after a much longer period, a matter of several weeks instead of several days. Muscles may be affected by extirpation of ganglia or severance of nerves in segments preceding their own segment.
Previous workers have shown that the growth of the new adult muscles is dependent on the influence of the central nervous system. This is not so in the case of sheets of fine muscle-fibres lying under the epidermis of the adult. They develop in the absence of central innervation.
Operations which had no effect on muscle-degeneration in the adult included extirpation of ganglia in pupa and adult, beheading and bleeding, extirpation of corpora allata plus corpora cardiaca, ligations, extirpation of pupal gonads, and isolation of adult abdomens. Substitution of blood from diapausing pupae or saline for the adult blood in isolated abdomens was effective in slowing the process of muscle-degeneration. This result shows that the blood composition is of importance in the process of histolysis in the adult.
The previous work on the physiology of insect histolysis is briefly reviewed. The influence of the nervous system as described in this paper is discussed and related to similar findings in other arthropods and in vertebrates.