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By Michael Hutchins

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Closure minimizes water loss from the tracheal system, and insects keep the spiracles closed as long as is consistent with efficient respiration. With the spiracles closed, the removal of oxygen from the tracheae causes a reduction in pressure. This is not offset by the production of carbon dioxide, because this gas is much more soluble and much goes into solution in the hemolymph. The tracheae do not collapse as the pressure decreases. Because they are formed from epidermis, they are lined with cuticle, and this is made into thickened spiral ridges, called taenidia, running along all the tracheae.

In most insects the cuticle of the wing is unsclerotized, although in Orthoptera, Blattodea, and Mantodea the forewings are weakly sclerotized, and in Coleoptera they are heavily sclerotized. These harder forewings provide protection for the more extensive hindwings, which furnish most of the power for flight in these groups. The flexibility of the membranous wings allows them to be folded at rest and also permits changes in shape during flight, which are important aerodynamically. The production of power, however, requires the wings to be rigid to some extent, and rigidity is conferred by the wing veins.

When it is 17 Structure and function Vol. 3: Insects 3 2 4 1 5 7 6 8 9 12 11 10 13 Insect antennae function as sensory organs, and have shapes and sizes. 1. Filiform; 2 Serrate; 3. Moniliform; 4. Clavate; 5. Capilate; 6. Setaceous; 7. Flabellate; 8. Lamellate; 9. Geniculate; 10. Stylate; 11. Pectinate; 12. Plumose; 13. Aristate. (Illustration by Marguette Dongvillo) distorted, it retains the energy imparted to it and, like a rubber ball, returns to its original shape when the tension is released.

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