May 13, 1976

The rectal complex in the larvae of lepidoptera

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences
J A Ramsay


In the so-called "cryptonephric" condition of the excretory system in insects the distal ends of the Malpighian tubules are closely applied to the rectum and enclosed with it in a special chamber, the perinephric space, separated from the rest of the body cavity by the perinephric membrane. The term "rectal complex" refers to this association of tubules and rectum, which is found in the larvae (but not in the adults) of most Lepidoptera. In the mealworm (Coleoptera) the rectal complex has notable ability to remove water from the faeces, but this ability is not conspicuously developed in the larvae of the two species of Lepidoptera here studied: Pieris brassicae and Manduca sexta. On the other hand these larvae have notable ability to maintain salt balance under heavy dietary loading, and in this the rectal complex plays an important part. A study of salt balance in more detail has shown that more sodium can be eliminated in the faeces than enters the rectal complex from the intestine. Consideration of other possible routes of entry points strongly to the Malpighian tubules. Superimposed upon a new flow of tubule fluid out of the rectal complex there is a tidal flow, brought about by the rectal musculature and amplified by dilat...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Malpighian Tubules
Chloride Ion Level
Entire Rectum
Biochemical Mechanism
Neoplasm of Uncertain or Unknown Behavior of Rectum
Osmolarity Measurement
Entire Body Cavity
Set of Muscles

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