The bristle pattern of the second-leg basitarsus in Drosophila melanogaster was studied as a function of the number and size of the cells on this segment in well-fed and starved wild-type flies, in triploid flies, and in two mutants (dachs and four-jointed) that have abnormally short basitarsi. The second-leg basitarsi of well-fed, wild-type flies from 22 other Drosophila species were studied in a similar manner. There are typically 8 longitudinal rows of evenly-spaced bristles on the second-leg basitarsus, and in each row the number of bristles was consistently found to vary in proportion to the estimated number of cells along the segment, and the interval between bristles was found to vary in proportion to the average cell diameter on the segment. These correlations are interpreted to mean that the spacing of the bristles within each row is controlled developmentally, whereas the number of bristles is not. The interval between bristles is evidently measured either as a fixed number of cells or as a distance which indirectly depends upon cell diameter.
- Pattern formation