Morphological diversity of leg appendages is one of the hallmarks of developmental evolution. Limbs in insects may develop either from their embryonic prototypes or from imaginal discs harbored inside the larva. Bombyx mori (B. mori), a Lepidopteran insect, develops adult wings from larval wing imaginal discs. However, it has been debated whether the adult legs of B. mori arise from imaginal discs or from the larval legs. Here we addressed how the larval legs relate to their adult counterparts. We present the morphological landmarks during early leg development. We used expression of developmental genes like Distalless and extradenticle to mark leg primordia. Finally, we employed classical excision approach to develop a fate map of the adult leg. Excision and ablation of thoracic legs along proximo-distal axis at various times during larval development resulted in the loss of corresponding adult leg segments. Our data suggest that B. mori legs develop from larval appendages rather than leg imaginal discs.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/amit_singh/25/