The endogenous development of the tachinid gregarious larval parasitoid Exorista larvarum L. (Diptera: Tachinidae) has been analyzed in the last larval instar of a factitious host, the wax moth Galleria mellonella L. (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), with the use of histological techniques and scanning electron microscopy. This study has focused on the parasitoid internal body structures and their changes during the larval development. The first and second instars are enveloped by a host-derived hemocyte capsule attached to the respiratory funnel via a prominent anal hook located between 2 anal lobes. The third instar abandons the respiratory funnel and migrates free in the body cavity of the already dead host. Emphasis is given to the prominent cephalopharyngeal skeleton, highlighting the morphological aspects of its sclerotized as well as non-sclerotized components. In addition to the cephalopharyngeal skeleton, the anterior third of the larval parasitoid body is occupied by large salivary glands, massive proventriculus, and cerebral ganglia. The extensive digestive tract, which occupies the major part of the body, is differentiated into well-marked individual parts. The abdomen is predominantly filled with the extremely long mesenteron that increases in size during the larval development. The whole body is covered by an apparently thin integument, with strong spines that are especially numerous in the anterior and posterior body parts.
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