Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 97, Issue 4, pp 329–338 | Cite as

Jet-propulsion in anisopteran dragonfly larvae

  • P. J. Mill
  • R. S. Pickard


Jet-propulsion in dragonfly larvae is achieved by the rapid ejection of water from a specialised rectal chamber via the anus, at a frequency of up to 2.2 cycles/s. Movement, forward thrust and muscular activity have been recorded in restrained and free-swimming larvae. Forward thrusts of up to 1.5 g wt result from the expiratory phases of cycles lasting 0.1 to 0.4 s. Swimming velocities are in the order of 10 cm/s. The following muscles are shown to be active during expiratory phases of jetting: anterior, posterior and respiratory dorso-ventrals; primary and secondary longitudinal tergals; lateral primary longitudinal sternopleural; dorso-ventral oblique; ventral adductors of the anal appendages. The sub-intestinal muscle is active during the inspiratory phases of jetting. Activity recorded is compared with that found during normal ventilation. The larval jet-propulsive mechanism is compared with that of certain cephalopods and found to be very effective for the larva's relatively small size.


Muscular Activity Swimming Velocity Expiratory Phase Inspiratory Phase Normal Ventilation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. J. Mill
    • 1
  • R. S. Pickard
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pure and Applied ZoologyUniversity of LeedsEngland

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