Developing embryos of the stick insect Carausius morosus were examined ultrastructurally with a view to studying vitellophage invasion of the yolk mass during and after germ band formation. Newly laid eggs in C.morosus have a unique yolk fluid compartment surrounded by a narrow fringe of cytoplasm comprising several small yolk granules. Vitellophages originate mainly from a thin layer of stem cells, the so-called yolk cell membrane, interposed between the germ band and the yolk mass. Throughout development, a thin basal lamina separates the yolk cell membrane from the overlying embryo. Vitellophages extend from the yolk cell membrane with long cytoplasmic processes or filopodia to invade the central yolk mass. Along their route of entrance, filopodia engulf portions of the yolk mass and sequester it into membrane-bounded granules. As this process continues, the yolk mass is gradually partitioned into a number of yolk granules inside the vitellophages. Later in development, the yolk cell membrane is gradually replaced by the endodermal cells that emerge from the anterior and posterior embryonic rudiments. From this stage of development onwards, vitellophages lophages remain attached to the basal lamina through long filopodia extending between the endodermal cells. Yolk confined in different vitellophagic cells appears heterogeneous both in density and texture, suggesting that yolk degradation may be spatially differentiated.
AN ULTRASTRUCTURAL INVESTIGATION ON VITELLOPHAGE INVASION OF THE YOLK MASS DURING AND AFTER GERM BAND FORMATION IN EMBRYOS OF THE STICK INSECT CARAUSIUS-MOROSUS BR / Fausto, Am; Carcupino, Marcella; Mazzini, M; Giorgi, F.. - In: DEVELOPMENT GROWTH & DIFFERENTIATION. - ISSN 0012-1592. - 36:2(1994), pp. 197-207.