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Experientia

, Volume 11, Issue 8, pp 294–301 | Cite as

Die physikalische Kieme der Wasserinsekten

  • H. P. Wolvekamp
Article

Summary

The air stores carried by a number of aquatic insects have: a) a hydrostatic function (Brocher, Oortwijn-Botjes, Thorpe, andCrisp); b) the function of an oxygen store (Ege, de Ruiteret al.) and c) the function of a “physical gill” (Strauss-Durckheim, Ege, etc.). The fact that oxygen is taken up from water with the aid of an air bubble was demonstrated forNotonecta by comparing the life time of insects with and without physical gill (while replenishing the oxygen store from the air was prevented) byEge, and forCorixa byPopham, whileVlasblom determined the oxygen uptake from water with and without air bubble forNotonecta, Naucoris, Corixa, Sigara andNepa. Nepa andSigara can take up considerable quantities of oxygen by cutaneous respiration.

During the summer, the gill function of the air store ofNotonecta andNaucoris is of importance only when a water current passes along the animal, caused by ventilation movements of the legs (de Ruiteret al.). At low temperatures, however, the metabolic rate is so low that in many instances the physical gill provides the oxygen required without ventilation movements.

An apparatus for the simultaneous determination of oxygen uptake from air and water (Wolvekamp andVlasblom) gave results that provided a means of evaluating the importance of the physical gill function.

In some cases, the air store, although in direct contact with the water, does not need to be replenished. InAphelocheirus andElmis, the negative pressure in the bubble, caused by oxygen consumption and the diffusing out of part of the nitrogen, is compensated for by the mechanical resistance of a feltwork of thin hairs and the surface tension of the boundary layer of the water (Thorpe andCrisp). In the African beetle,Potamodytes, the unprotected air bubble is permanent because the strong river currents produce a lowered pressure around the animal according toBernoulli's principle (Stride).

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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1955

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. P. Wolvekamp
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für experimentelle Zoologie der ReichsuniversitätLeidenNiederlande

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