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Embryo-to-embryo communication facilitates synchronous hatching in grasshoppers

Seiji Tanaka
Published: 9 August 2021

Abstract: Synchronous hatching within single egg clutches is moderately common in locusts and other insects and can be mediated by vibrational stimuli generated by adjacent embryos. However, in non-locust grasshoppers, there has been little research on the patterns of egg hatching and the mechanisms controlling the time of hatching. In this study, the hatching patterns of six grasshoppers (Atractomorpha lata, Oxya yezoensis, Acrida cinerea, Chorthippus biguttulus, Gastrimargus marmoratus, and Oedaleus infernalis) were observed under various laboratory treatments. Under continuous illumination and a 25/30°C thermocycle, the eggs of these grasshoppers tended to hatch during the first half of the daily warm period. Eggs removed from egg pods and cultured at 30°C tended to hatch significantly earlier and more synchronously when kept in groups vs. singly. In general, eggs hatched earlier when egg group size was increased. Egg hatching was stimulated by hatched nymphs in some species, but not in others. In all species, two eggs separated by several millimeters on sand hatched less synchronously than those kept in contact with one another, but the hatching synchrony of similarly separated eggs was restored if they were connected by a piece of wire, suggesting that a physical signal transmitted through the wire facilitated synchronized hatching. In contrast, hatching times in the Emma field cricket, Teleogryllus emma, which lays single, isolated eggs, were not influenced by artificial clumping in laboratory experiments. These results are discussed and compared with the characteristics of other insects.
Keywords: hatching times / Embryo / eggs / synchronously / emma / wire / locust / kept

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