Letter | Published:

Feeding Mechanism of Water-Bugs

Nature volume 159, page 605 (03 May 1947) | Download Citation



THE suggestion put forward by Walton1 that the presence of small teeth and chitinous elevations in the pharynx of Micronecta indicates that this Hemipteran ingests and masticates particulate food material appears to be true for other families of the Cryptocerata. There exists in many, and probably all, species of Corixidæ a type of feeding mechanism which does not seem to have been recorded. This takes the form of a modification of the cibarial suction pump2 in such a manner as to produce a pair of chitinous jaws having a structure and position strongly suggesting that they function as organs for the comminution of solid material. It is a mechanism more elaborate in form than that found in Micronecta. The whole ventral wall of the cibarial pump consists of a curved chitinous plate having a thickened posterior margin. The anterior border of this plate appears to be folded back and modified into a transverse triangular bar set with rows of minute tooth-like projections. Above this bar and articulating with it at its lateral ends lies a second chitinous bar formed by the thickened dorsal wall of the cibarium and similarly equipped with teeth or rugosities (Fig.1). The two bars have the appearance of a pair of grinding jaws, and although the musculature of the organ has not been studied in detail, enough has been noted to support this supposition.

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  1. 1.

    , Trans. Soc. Brit. Ent., 5 (7), 268 (1938).

  2. 2.

    , "Principles of Insect Morphology" (New York, 1935).

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  1. Department of Zoology, University of Glasgow.

    • H. D. SLACK


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