Do insect wounds heal?

That is to say, if an insect suffers a wound, will it heal? I can imagine that some of the longer lived insects might heal, but if an insect is only going to live a few weeks anyhow, does its body bother to heal a wound?

The life of some insects is long when compaered to other animals.

Most live much less than one years, but queen termites are known to live around 40 years, and believed to be more though this has not yet been verified.

One splendour beetle in the UK emerged in its adult form having spent 47 years getting there, this is in the Guinnes book of records, death watch beetles also have long lives. Scorpions can get up to 24 years.

I’d guess that these insects at least must have ability to revover from illness and injury.

But for those insects that have a short life span?

Those are maximum ages. It may be that the only insects that reach those ages are the ones that were never injured.

I’m guessing that they can, but only during a molt. I don’t think their exoskeletons are repairable; they have to wait until they grow a new one. I’ve heard that some arthropods can regrow limbs during a molt, so if this is the case they can definitely repair themselves then. Think of it like damaging your fingernail: the damaged part won’t heal itself, it will just be replaced by the new material that’s constantly growing in.

Well, here’s a study (with pictures!) with wounded mosquito larvae (“Fourth-instars were wounded by inserting a sterile 1 mm diameter needle into the seventh abdominal segment…”)

Electron microscopic observations of wound-healing in larvae of the mosquito Armigeres subalbatus (Diptera: Culicidae)

The abstract (since I don’t know if you’ll have access to the article): “The wound-healing processes in the mosquito Armigeres subalbatus (Coquillett) were observed with electron microscopy. The initial reaction involved wound contraction and aggregation of injured surface tissues, cell debris and movement of granulocytes toward the wound. Granulocytes first aggregated around the surface of the wound and many filamentous filopodia protruded to connect with cytoplasmic strands. These strands were then interconnected to form a network coagulum resulting in wound closure to prevent body fluid loss. Granulocytes lysed on the wound-site and released granular materials around the wound, inducing localized clot formation. These results suggested that wound-healing in this mosquito species involved both humoral and cellular reactions. The latter reaction involved the movement of plasmatocytes to the basement membrane of the epidermis beneath the wound-site and epithelial cells regeneration. Our observations revealed that wound-healing in A. subalbatus involves the wound contraction, formation of a temporary cellular clump, scar formation, basement membrane formation, and reepithelialization. The larvae neither discarded the wound scar nor secreted a new cuticle until the next molting. Based on the ultrastructural observations, it is suggested that the wound-healing reaction in A. subalbatus was probably a typical response employed by other members of the family Culicidae.”

The article also mentions “With an open circulatory system, insects possess immediate, noninducible coagulation mechanisms to prevent body fluid loss from injury.” I would think this action would extend to adults as well, but who knows how big of a wound they could recover from?

I raise honey bees and the life span of the worker bees depends on when they hatch. In the summer they work gathering pollen and nectar until they literally wear their wings out and can’t fly anymore. If they hatch late in the season, they get to winter over in the hive and wear their wings out the next season.

You can also clip a queen’s wings (they live for several years) after she has mated and keep her from flying away (swarming) to start a new colony. The wings never grow back.

Honeybees don’t molt BTW.