GROSS question

Joe Kunkel joe at
Wed May 27 08:10:00 EDT 1998

Leps excrete in three ways:
1. Storage excretion, in which they turn nitrogenous and other organic
waste into a pigment or inert deposit in their tissues.
2. Kidney like organs (Malphigian tubules) which eliminate nitrogenous
compounds and filter the hemolymph (blood) and reabsorb those ions that
they want to retain.  The urine they produce is dumped into the hind
3. Undigested matter from the midgut is also passed to the hindgut just
as we pass undigested and unabsorbed substances from our small
intestines to our large intestines.

In the hind gut (large intestines) the extra water is resorbed from the
gut contents and the feces are formed and finally excreted from the
anus.  Thus their "pee and poop" are combined.  During the larval phase
their feces is dominated by the vegetation that they have been eating. 
During the adult phase, for adults that eat, their feces is mainly
dominated by the condensed products of the Malphigian tubules and minor
unabsorbed residue from their liquid nectar diet.

Wigglesworth's Insect Physiology Textbook is still entertaining reading
on this subject:
 AUTHOR       Wigglesworth, Vincent B. (Vincent Brian), Sir, 1899-
 TITLE        Insect physiology [by] Sir Vincent B. Wigglesworth.
 EDITION      6th ed., revised ed. and reset.
 PUBLISHER    London, Methuen; New York, Wiley, 1966.
 DESCRIPT     x, 134 p. illus., diagrs. 20 cm.
 SERIES       Methuen's monographs on biological subjects.
 NOTE         Includes bibliographies.
 SUBJECT      Insects -- Physiology.


Priya54 wrote:
> How do butterflies and moths excrete their waste products?
> Or, in less polite words...
> how do they poop and pee?
> Just wondering....

Joseph G. Kunkel, Professor
Biology Department
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
joe at

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