An X-ray micro-computer tomography study of the Malpighian tubules of the Blue Bottle Blow Fly (Calliphora vomitoria) Diptera Calliphoridae

Duncan Bell, Nic Bury, Svetlana Gretton, Nick Corps, David Mortimore, Mark K. Greco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Malpighian tubules are the insect equivalent of mammalian kidneys and normally drain into the gut at the junction between the mid and hind gut. The Malpighian tubules of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster are increasingly being used as a model for studying human renal tract development, histology, nephrolithiasis and urolithiasis. In the present study we report when using X-ray micro-computer tomography techniques, the larval, intrapuparial and adult stages of the larger Calliphora vomitoria can contain large amounts of calcium-rich concretions which are tightly packed in the lumen of both anterior Malpighian tubules. We show that it is feasible to utilise these calcium-rich concretions as a form of marking agent to delineate the various developmental stages of the Malpighian tubules including the crucial phase when the Malpighian tubules reconnect with the hind gut. In the majority of cases during the intrapuparial period the ureters of the Malpighian tubules did not start to re-canalise and thus reconnect with the developing hind gut until the 7th day of the 10-11 day. Just prior to ecdysis, virtually all the radio-opaque concretions in the Malpighian tubules had emptied into the hind gut and had then been completely excreted by the time the imago emerged from its puparium. In contrast, we show that in flies developing from larvae previously stained by ingesting Rhodamine B, a known substrate for both the Multi Xenobiotic Resistance and Multi Drug Resistant membrane transport systems, the efficiency with which these calcium-rich concretions are excreted by the imago as it emerges from its intrapuparial period can be significantly impaired. Therefore, it might be useful to include C. vomitoria as a model when studying renal tract development and urolithiasis using X-ray micro-computer tomography.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125972
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Early online date14 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'An X-ray micro-computer tomography study of the Malpighian tubules of the Blue Bottle Blow Fly (Calliphora vomitoria) Diptera Calliphoridae'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this