We analyzed the heterogeneity of
hemocytes on the basis of the expression of cell-type specific antigens. The antigens characterize distinct subsets which partially overlap with those defined by morphological criteria. On the basis of the expression or the lack of expression of blood cell antigens the following hemocyte populations have been defined: crystal cells, plasmatocytes, lamellocytes and precursor cells. The expression of the antigens and thus the different cell types are developmentally regulated. The hemocytes are arranged in four main compartments: the circulating blood cells, the sessile tissue, the lymph glands and the posterior hematopoietic tissue. Each hemocyte compartment has a specific and characteristic composition of the various cell types. The described markers represent the first successful attempt to define hemocyte lineages by immunological markers in
and help to define morphologically, functionally, spatially and developmentally distinct subsets of hemocytes.