Journal of the Graduate Research Center


Insects of the orders Hemiptera, Hymenoptera, Coleoptera and Diptera have developed an asynchronous flight mechanism. The frequency of the muscle contraction is not directly related to the rate of nervous stimulation (Pringle 1965). An initial nervous stimulus produces an active state in the flight muscle during which a variable number of oscillatory contractions take place. Consequently, insects like the house-fly can maintain a very high frequency of wing beat (180-200 per second). Asynchronous flight muscles differ from the vertebrate skeletal muscles and insect synchronous flight muscles; in the latter each nerve impulse produces a single contraction of the innervated fibres. The asynchronous flight muscles are usually referred to as '"fibrillar" muscles because of the easy dissociability of their large myofibrils. The existing information on the cytology of the fibrillar muscles is quite meagre as compared to the vertebrate striated muscles. The present report is concerned with the ultrastructural organization of the fibrillar flight muscles of the common house-fly, Musca domestica.

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