Morphology of the pupal heart, adult heart, and associated tissues in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster

J Morphol. 1999 Jun;240(3):225-35. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-4687(199906)240:3<225::AID-JMOR2>3.0.CO;2-V.


The early pupal heart of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has recently been the subject of intense physiological and molecular work, yet it has not been well described, nor has it been compared with the heart of the adult fly. In the work reported here, the hearts of adults and early pupae of D. melanogaster were studied by scanning and transmission electron microscopy and by light microscopy. The hearts of adults and early pupae both consist of a tube of circular striated muscle one cell in thickness. The alary muscles, which suspend the heart, are more delicate in the adult compared to the early pupa. The pericardial cells in both early pupae and adults are connected to the heart by connective tissue radiating from the alary muscles or dorsal diaphragm. We confirm that four major changes occur in the heart during metamorphosis: 1) a conical chamber is formed de novo in the first and second abdominal segments; 2) the adult heart curves to conform to the contour of the abdomen; 3) a layer of longitudinal striated muscle appears on the ventral surface of the heart; 4) a fourth pair of ostia is added to the three already present in the early pupa; and note additionally that 5) the ostia appear as simple openings in the heart of the early pupa but are valve-like in the adult.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster / anatomy & histology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Heart / anatomy & histology
  • Heart / growth & development
  • Heart / physiology
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / ultrastructure
  • Myocardial Contraction / physiology
  • Myocardium / cytology
  • Pupa / anatomy & histology
  • Pupa / growth & development
  • Pupa / physiology