Letter | Published:

Function of the Gills of the Mayfly Nymph, Cloeon dipterum


IT is generally supposed that the plate-like abdominal gills occurring in some ephemerid nymphs are respiratory organs, although little experimental evidence is available to support this view. Moreover, both Dewitz1 and Cuénot2 have shown that these gills are not essential to life. Recently, another function has been ascribed to these structures by Eastham3, who shows that in the nymph of the mayfly, Ecdyonurua venosus, they act as paddles which bathe with water the gill tufts attached to their bases.

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  1. 1

    Dewitz, H., Zool. Anz., 13, 525 (1890).

  2. 2

    Cuénot, L., “L'Adaptatiou”, Paris (1925).

  3. 3

    Eastham, L., J. Exp. Biol., 14, 219 (1937).

  4. 4

    Fox, H. Munro, Wingfield, C. A., and Simmonds, B. G., J. Exp. Biol., 14, 210 (1936).

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