Pattern duplications in larvae of the polyembryonic wasp Copidosoma floridanum

Miodrag Grbic, Lisa M. Nagy, Michael Strand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Copidosoma floridanum is a polyembryonic wasp that undergoes total cleavage of the egg followed by proliferation of blastomeres to produce up to 2,000 embryos from a single egg. This unusual mode of development raises several questions about how axial polarity is established in individual embryonic primordia. By examining embryonic development of larvae with duplicated structures (conjoined larvae), we determined that conjoined larvae form by mislocalization of two embryonic primordia to a common chamber of the extraembryonic membrane that surrounds individual embryos. Analysis of an anterior marker, Distalless, in mislocalized early embryos indicated that anterior structures form independently of one another. This suggests each embryonic primordium has some intrinsic polarity. However, during germband extension embryos usually fuse in register with each other, resulting in conjoined larvae with heads facing each other. Analysis of the posterior segmental marker, Engrailed, in conjoined embryos suggested that fusion in register initiates during, germband extension. Thus, even though embryonic primordia initially have a random axial orientation, conjoined larvae usually possess a common orientation due to reorientation during germband extension. These observations suggest that differential cellular affinities during segmentation play an important role in embryo fusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-287
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopment Genes and Evolution
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996


  • Axis formation
  • Pattern formation
  • Polyembryony
  • Twinning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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