Insect Metamorphosis features important updates on three key aspects of this historically enigmatic area of evolutionary biology: how did metamorphosis originate, how did it evolve, and how is it regulated. In providing an updated and modern vision of the process, the work discusses insect metamorphosis as a key innovation in insect evolution, with most of the present biodiversity on Earth composed of metamorphosing insects – approximately 1 million species having been described, and another 10-30 million still to be discovered. It also addresses misconceptions and past treatment in secondary source literature that may have been outdated or simply incorrect. This exciting work addresses the difficulty of integrating insect metamorphosis into the theory of species evolution by natural selection (due to the striking difference between the morphologies and life styles of larvae and adults of the same species) noted by Darwin in his On the Origin of Species. It offers a comprehensive and updated review on insect metamorphosis, covering biological, physiological, and molecular facets and with emphasis on evolutionary aspects.
1. The ideas of metamorphosis through time
2. Life cycles and modes of metamorphosis
3. Embryo development and metamorphosis
4. Postembryonic development. Molting
5. Hormones involved in the regulation of metamorphosis
6. Molecular mechanisms of hormonal action
7. The role of microRNAs in the regulation of metamorphosis
8. The origin of hemimetaboly
9. The evolution of metamorphosis
Xavier Bellés is Research Professor of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). He has been founder (2008) and first director (2008-2016) of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (CSIC-Pompeu Fabra University), in Barcelona, where he still works. For more than 30 years, he has been studying the evolution of insect metamorphosis, focusing in the regulatory mechanisms. He is the proponent of the MEKRE93 pathway, as the universal axis that regulates metamorphosis in insects, and the Broad complex hypothesis, which explains its evolution. Prolific author, he has published 311 scientific papers and 11 books, and has been awarded the Maurice and Therese Pic Prize (Entomological Society of France, 1985), Scientific Literature Prize (Catalan Foundation for Research, 2003), House of Sciences Award (A Coruña Town Hall, 2009), Narcís Monturiol Medal (Catalan Government, 2019). He is Honorary Member of the Spanish Society for Evolutionary Biology, and Academician of the Institute for Catalan Studies, the Royal Academy of Exact Physical and Natural Sciences of Spain, and the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona.