Eclosion hormone activity was found in the brain and ventral ganglia of pharate pupae of Manduca sexta. No activity was detected in the corpora cardiaca-corpora allata complex. At the time of ecdysis the store of activity dropped by 50–75% in the ventral cord whereas the hormone level in the brain remained unchanged. Also, larvae whose brains were removed at the wandering stage subsequently showed pupal ecdysis behaviour and also had essentially normal levels of hormonal activity in their blood at the start of the behaviour. It was concluded that at pupal ecdysis the hormone responsible for the initiation of the behaviour is released from the ventral nerve cord rather than from the brain.
The chemical characteristics of the pharate pupal eclosion hormone were determined. The factors from the brain and ventral nerve cord were both active in a number of adult and pupal eclosion hormone bioassays. Both showed an apparent molecular weight of 8500 daltons and an isoelectric point of about 5·0, values essentially the same as that seen for the adult form of the hormone. We concluded that pupal ecdysis and adult eclosion are triggered by the same hormone but for the former it is released from the ventral nerve cord and, for the latter, from the brain. The choice of release site may depend on whether or not the release is under circadian control.