Hypermetamorphosis

John D. Pinto

University of California, Riverside

Hypermetamorphosis is a form of complete insect metamorphosis or holometaboly in which at least one of the instars in the life cycle differs considerably from the others. The term heteromorphosis, preferred by some entomologists, carries a degree of ambiguity in that it also refers to the relatively minor differences characterizing consecutive instars in virtually all insects, as well as to the phenomenon of organ replacement following mutilation. Hypermetamorphosis is most common in parasitoids, where it usually is the first instar that deviates structurally and behaviorally from the others. In some groups one or more of the subsequent instars also are distinctive. In the same way that holometabolous development allows a division of function between the larva and adult insect, hypermetamorphosis can be viewed as an exaggerated form of holometaboly characterized by additional division of function within the larval stage.

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