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By V.B. Wigglesworth

This article presents an introductory account of the body structure of bugs, intelligible to any reader with an ordinary wisdom of biology. it may be of curiosity to undergraduate scholars of biology, entomology and agriculture.

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We have seen that in the insect at rest the supply of oxygen is effected solely by diffusion through one or two pairs of spiracles. As the demand for oxygen increases, more spiracles come into operation and they remain open for longer periods. When the oxygen requirements are still greater ventilatory pumping movements begin and then the rhythm of opening and closure of the spiracles is changed in such a way as to cause a directed stream of air through the system. All this implies a most intricate nervous co-ordination between the control of the pumping movements and the regulation of the spiracles; and the rhythm may change completely as the intensity of stimulus increases.

Either a lack of oxygen or an excess of carbon dioxide may stimulate the respiratory centres and cause RESPIRATION 25 hyperpnoea; in some insects an excess of oxygen may cause a prolonged apnoea. Now excess of oxygen will not diminish the production of carbon dioxide; nor will a lack of oxygen increase it. If, therefore, carbon dioxide were the sale respiratory stimulant, respiration should not be influenced by the tension of oxygen. ; and in the Periplaneta and other insects, ventilation begins, even in the insect at rest, at a carbon dioxide tension oflO per cent.

Consequently, as the partial pressure of oxygen in the air store becomes reduced, equilibrium will be restored by the diffusion of oxygen inwards, rather than by the diffusion of nitrogen outwards. Of course, some 29 RESPIRATION nitrogen will diffuse out, but as long as any remains undissolved the process can go on, and the insect can extract dissolved oxygen from the water. This mechanism is of more or less value to all aquatic insects that carry air stores; and small forms like Corixa can obtain enough oxygen in this way even at summer temperature so long as they do not swim actively.

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