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Aquatic Entomology$
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Jill Lancaster and Barbara J. Downes

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199573219

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573219.001.0001

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The biomechanics of living in and on water

The biomechanics of living in and on water

Chapter:
(p.65) Chapter 5 The biomechanics of living in and on water
Source:
Aquatic Entomology
Author(s):

Jill Lancaster

Barbara J. Downes

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573219.003.0005

This chapter first discusses some of the physical properties of water, including viscosity, water pressure, and the surface films formed between water and air. With these principles in mind, it then explains how living in water affects the morphology and behaviour of aquatic insects that live in different habitats. In still water, buoyancy and the problem of maintaining position in the water column or on the substrate are perhaps the major challenges. Insects that live on the water surface must avoid sinking and they use various strategies that exploit the physical properties of surface films and hydrofuge or water-repellent body parts. The section on life in flowing waters begins with a discussion of some physical properties including Reynolds numbers, drag, shear stress, streamlining, laminar and turbulent flows, and boundary layers. These physical properties shape the various adaptations to flowing water, most of which centre on the need to reduce drag when moving and feeding, and to avoid accidental displacement.

Keywords:   flowing water, hydrofuge, Reynolds number, surface film, drag, streamlining, viscosity, shear stress, turbulent flows

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