Letter | Published:

Feeding Mechanism of Water-bugs

Nature volume 160, page 122 (26 July 1947) | Download Citation



An account has been given by H. D. Slack of the cibarial suction pump of Corixidæ, in which a modification producing the effect of chitinous jaws was noted1. A full account of the head and mouth parts of Rhamphocorixa acuminata has been previously given by M. E. Griffith2. Further, H. B. Hungerford3 has found solid food in the alimentary canal of Corixidæ, in particular, jaws of rotifers, filaments of Oscillatoria sp. and Mougeotia sp., slime diatoms, etc. In an investigation begun in 1943, I have confirmed much of this work, and, in addition, have found legs of Crustacea, Anabæna sp., undamaged filaments of Spirogyra sp., an unexploded nematocyst, pollen grains, etc. I have also made observations on the feeding of Sigara striata, S. falleni, Corixa punctata and C. panzeri, on chironomid larvæ, Mayfly nymphs and daphnids. In all cases the live food was pierced and anchored by the mouth parts, probably by the mandibular teeth described by M. E. Griffith2. The food thus seized was held for periods varying from five to twenty minutes, during which time some of the contents of the living animal were sucked into the corixid. On one occasion black pigment from the eye of a daphnid was observed streaming through the pharynx.

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  1. 1.

    Nature, 159, 605 (1947).

  2. 2.

    , Univ. Kansas. Sci. Bull., 30, Part II, No. 14 (June 1945).

  3. 3.

    , Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull, 11, 1 (1933).

  4. 4.

    , Proc. Linn. Soc., 158, Pt. 1, 51 (1947).

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  1. Department of Biology, Chelsea Polytechnic, Manresa Road, London, S.W.3. May 9.



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