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Endocuticle sclerotisation increases the mechanical stability of cuticle

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Abstract

The cuticle plays an important role in the evolutionary success of insects. Many studies on insect cuticles have reported a soft, resilin-rich endocuticle. However, a recent study indicated the presence of a sclerotised endocuticle in the weevil Pachyrhynchus sarcitis kotoensis, which contradicts former knowledge. To understand the degree of sclerotisation in the endocuticle of the weevil and its potential function, we first examined the endocuticle by microscopic and staining techniques. We next performed mechanical tests to measure the material properties of the endocuticle, and numerical simulations to predict the structural effect of the sclerotisation. Our results provide the first evidence of the existence of a sclerotised endocuticle and its remarkable function in improving the mechanical stability of the cuticle. This study highlights the finding of a high degree of sclerotisation in the stiff endocuticle of the weevil, especially the matrix surrounding the fibres. This novel case brings new understanding of cuticle properties and gives promising insights into biomaterial design.

Graphical abstract: Endocuticle sclerotisation increases the mechanical stability of cuticle

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Publication details

The article was received on 20 Aug 2019, accepted on 14 Sep 2019 and first published on 16 Sep 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C9SM01687B
Soft Matter, 2019, Advance Article

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    Endocuticle sclerotisation increases the mechanical stability of cuticle

    L. Wang, M. Jafarpour, C. Lin, E. Appel, S. N. Gorb and H. Rajabi, Soft Matter, 2019, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C9SM01687B

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