Energetic loads and informational entropy during insect metamorphosis: Measuring structural variability and self-organization
In this work an information theory approach is presented for measuring structural variability during insect metamorphosis. Following a self-organizational perspective, the underlying assumption is that an insect pupa is a cybernetic bio-system, which displays a homeostatic control during its metamorphosis. The description of structural variability was based on biochemical data (lipids, glycogen, carbohydrates and proteins) analysed at different time intervals during the metamorphosis of Anarsia lineatella Zeller (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae). Probabilities of biochemical variables were further treated by considering a finite countable set of progressive metamorphosis states having Markov properties at isothermal conditions (25 degrees C, 16:8 h L:D, 65 +/- 5%RH). The probabilities of the biochemical variables, as well as the related informational entropies, are affected when the system moves one step forward for each successive state. In most cases, but protein, there is some observable evidence that histolysis could be related to a decrease in informational entropy H ('disorganization of the system'), followed by a 'stable balance period' during the middle stages of metamorphosis. An initial increase in H is measured at the last stages of metamorphosis, which theoretically correspond to histogenesis ('reorganization of the system'). In this context, the temporal evolution of pupal structural variability was probabilistically quantified according to the classical information theory. The principles of the proposed holistic system are independent of its detailed dynamics and the proposed model can potentially describe part of the observable experimental data during metamorphosis of a holometabolous insect. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.