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A function of the subelytral chamber of tenebrionid beetles


, : A function of the subelytral chamber of tenebrionid beetles. Journal of Experimental Biology 90: 109-114

The subelytral chamber is an air space between the elytra and the dorsum of the abdomen of some tenebrionid beetles. Postulated functions for the subelytral chamber include a reduction of transpiratory water loss and a thermal buffer for heat flow from the elytra to the abdomen. There is a significant correlation between water loss and the depth of the subelytral chamber. The chamber may be a structure that permits the rapid expansion of the abdomen, providing the beetles with a mechanism by which they can quickly drink large quantities of water from an ephemeral water source such as a rain puddle. As the beetles drink, the abdomen greatly expands and the chamber disappears.

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