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Females of the tussock moth Orgyia recens have vestigial wings, whereas the males have normal wings. During early pupal development, female wings degenerate drastically compared with those of males. To examine whether ecdysteroid is involved in this sex-specific wing development, we cultured pupal wings just after pupation with ecdysteroid (20-hydroxyecdysone, 20E). In the presence of 20E, the female wings degenerated to about one-fifth their original size. In contrast, the male wings cultured with 20E showed only peripheral degeneration just outside the bordering lacuna, as in other butterflies and moths. TUNEL analysis showed that apoptotic signals were induced by 20E over the entire region of female wings, but only in the peripheral region of male wings. Semi-thin sections of the wings cultured with ecdysteroid showed that phagocytotic hemocytes were observed abundantly throughout the female wings, but in only peripheral regions of male wings. These observations indicate that both apoptotic events and phagocytotic activation are triggered by ecdysteroid, in sex-specific and region-specific manners.