The evolution of wings is heralded as the most important event in the diversification of insects, yet flight-wing loss has occurred in nearly all pterygote insect orders. Flight loss is especially prevalent among taxa inhabiting historically stable habitats. Recent studies of wing-polymorphic species have revealed numerous selective trade-offs in the reproductive potentials of winged versus flightless forms. A diverse set of environmental factors, both biotic and abiotic, trigger flight loss in alary polyphenic taxa, presumably by influencing juvenile hormone titers. Phylogenetic comparisons promise to elucidate much about the historical contexts and consequences of flight loss. © 1992.
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