The Penetration of Cuticle by Insecticides

  • C. T. Lewis
Part of the Springer Series in Experimental Entomology book series (SSEXP)


The epicuticle that invests the skeletal cuticle has evolved as the final barrier between insect tissues and the outside world. It is well known that this layered structure of lipids and protein, a micron or two thick, restricts the transpiration of water and thus prevents desiccation of the tissues. But how does it behave toward external substances? In terrestrial insects, the epicuticular surface resists wetting by external water, a property which has a survival value for small insects that might otherwise be trapped by wet surfaces. On the other hand, the surface is readily wetted by many organic liquids. Nonpolar substances are not a normal hazard in the natural world, and the hydrophobic epicuticle is not well adapted to resist their spread and penetration to the inner layers of the cuticle and the epidermal cells. The study of factors governing the penetration of foreign molecules across the insect cuticle is, however, of more than academic interest. Most investigations in this field have been related, directly or indirectly, to the chemical control of species harmful to man and his interests.


Contact Angle Spray Droplet Micrometer Screw Desert Locust Insect Cuticle 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1980

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  • C. T. Lewis

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