Growth trajectory of a typical larva. Growth occurs during five larval instars, separated by brief periods of molting during which no growth occurs. (a) Linear plot: the peak on day 18 is the maximum size the larva attained and marks the time at which the larva stopped feeding and growing. Decreasing mass after this time is due to the purge of gut contents. (b) Semilogarithmic plot: dashed lines are exponential regressions on the growth phases of each of the five larval instars. The inset shows a plot of the exponents of the regressions in (b) showing a linear decrease with instar (the regression is: exponent = 1.01 - 0.098*instar; R2 = 0.92).
Nijhout et al. Journal of Biology 2006 5:16 doi:10.1186/jbiol43