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Discovery of swimming larvae in Elmidae (Coleoptera: Byrrhoidea)
- Hayashi, Masakazu, Sota, Teiji
- Entomological science 2019 v.22 no.1 pp. 3-5
- Elmidae, abdomen, gills, head, insect larvae, legs, swimming, thorax
- The aquatic larvae of the family Elmidae (Coleoptera) have been considered unable to swim because they lack swimming setae on their body and legs. We discovered that riffle beetle larvae (Leptelmis gracilis Sharp) are in fact able to swim. After opening the tuft‐like gills on the last abdominal segment they swim by repeatedly bending the abdomen into a U‐shape very quickly and in a wavy manner, while their head and thorax move anteriorly, resulting in a sigmoidal body shape. The flat bodies of L. gracilis larvae could be advantageous for swimming compared to the cylindrical or semicylindrical bodies of larvae in related genera.