Method for establishing the critical weight and the delay time for PTTH secretion. Larvae are starved at various weights and the onset of wandering is determined and compared with that of larvae of similar weights that are allowed to continue feeding. The critical weight is the smallest weight at which there is no difference between starved and feeding larvae in the time required to initiate PTTH secretion and enter the wandering phase. The delay time is the time between achieving the critical weight and the actual secretion of PTTH, which corresponds to the ICG in Figure 1. Thus at the critical weight a series of events are set in motion that lead to PTTH secretion and that are not affected by subsequent nutrition. The critical weight occurs in about the middle of the growth phase of the fifth larval instar, so a larva can approximately double its mass after passing the critical weight.
Nijhout et al. Journal of Biology 2006 5:16 doi:10.1186/jbiol43