How do insects drink water

How do insects drink water ?

Wiki User
June 03, 2009 5:29AM

As a simple answer, yes, insects do drink in

the same way as other animals, but there is a little more to it

Firstly, it depends on the rest of the insect’s diet as you

out. Many herbivorous insects get the majority, if not all, of

from the food they eat because vegetation has such a high water

have some tropical stick insects and they certainly get all

from the leaves they eat, although they are kept in a damp

is also worth noting that their mouthparts are not particularly

for drawing water anyway.

It is not uncommon for insects to drink from the morning dew,

raindrops, or from the surfaces or edges of ponds. Leave a damp

on a hot day (make it bright yellow to attract the most insects)

them come in to drink. If you watch with a magnifying glass you

that they have many different ways of doing it; flies suck it

wasps use a tiny structure that looks much like a tongue. While

wasps, it is worth thinking about nest building which is done by

tiny pieces of wood and bark and chewing them into a paste from

nest is made. This requires water and so the wasp needs to take

moisture for this purpose too. I have two giant millipedes (not

but arthropods all the same) that augment their cucumber and

with a considerable amount of water that they draw from the damp

As a general rule, the ability to go without water is confined

animals, and the larger an animal is, the more it depends on

could suggest why the bigger insects are usually to be found in

places such as the rainforests.

Finally, to answer your question about carnivorous insects, lets

robber flies and mantids. Both are ambush style predators, one

common worldwide, whereas the other is usually only found in

climates. Both have a diet that is made up of prey, but the

will take juice from fruit and the mantis will sip water from

Watch a Thirsty Wasp Drink Water in Mesmerizing Slow Motion

In a unique video, a wasp seemingly tries to catch drop after drop of water in a delicate dance between hydration and drenched wings.

Watch a Thirsty Wasp Drink Water in Mesmerizing Slow Motion

In a unique video, a wasp seemingly tries to catch drop after drop of water in a delicate dance between hydration and drenched wings.

PUBLISHED August 16, 2018

Every animal needs water. This vital substance propels all life on earth, from the largest of mammals to the smallest of wasps.

Footage captured in Nasiriyah, Iraq shows a curiously mesmerizing scene of a wasp getting pummeled by drops of water coming from a pipe. At first glance, the wasp seems to be trying to catch the water, but the water proves to be too heavy and the wasp keeps returning to be dropped again drip by drip.

But the wasp is not, in fact, engaging in some Sisyphean feat. The wasp is rather gathering water—and drinking.

“It’s pretty common to see wasps collecting water,” says Elizabeth Tibbetts, an ecology and evolutionary biology professor at the University of Michigan. “Wasps return to a good foraging site day after day, so I bet that wasp has visited the dripping pipe many times.”

Indeed, the wasp returned several times to fetch water, according to videographer Ahmed Abbas. He captured this footage on June 22, when the temperature climbed eight degrees above the historical average to reach 111 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wasps don’t just drink water. They use it “for lots of different things: they mix water with wood pulp to construct their nest, use water for cooling their nest on hot days, and share the water with nest-mates and larvae,” Tibbetts explains. (Related: Animals, like wasps, become more altruistic in changing environments.)

These insects collect and transfer the water by first swallowing it and then regurgitating into other wasp’s mouths, in a process called trophallaxis, Tibbetts says.

Wasps can often be found hovering near water since it’s so important to stay hydrated, especially when it’s very hot and dry. But they have to be careful because if their wings get too drenched, they won’t be able to fly.

In the video, Tibbetts says that the wasp is “maneuvering carefully to get a drink without getting too wet.”

Do insects need to drink water?

Do insects need to drink water?

I’ve never seen an insect drink before. Just wondering.

Some. It depends on their diet and some other factors. Many will get enough moisture from their food, but if need be, can/will drink water.

There are some desert species, for example, that have developed both behavioural and physical traits that allow them to collect early morning dew with their bodies, and funnel it to their mouths to drink.

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Yes, Stenocara gracilipes, a species native to the Namib Desert in Africa (sometimes simply called the «Namib desert beetle», at least on a cursory Google search).

Some butterflies and other insects also display a behavior called «mud-puddling» or «puddling», where they drink fluid from moist surfaces. That’s a bit opposite of what /u/maxprocreator asked, though, as there they drink primarily to obtain the minerals or other nutrients dissolved in the water, rather than the water itself. Butterflies in particular can only consume liquids, and the Wiki article does say that they will drink water if necessary (typically from similarly damp surfaces).

Many insects require water, although much of it can be obtained through their food (e.g. plants, nectar). The reason you don’t see many insects drinking is that they do fine on raindrops and dew drops, since they are rather small so they don’t need large quantities of water. But if I do not supply my parasitoid wasps in the lab with water, they die within two days.

Honey bees regularly collect water. As a beekeeper of you don’t provide a nearby source they will inevitable find the nearest swimming pool and use it for thier water source. It’s a common complaint from beekeeper neighbors about the dead bees in the pool.

What Do Stick Insects Drink?

There are a lot of guides dedicated to determining what stick insects eat. And with over 6,000 stick insect species in the world, it is a big topic to cover, but what do stick insects drink?

The answer is not complex, but there are some points you need to know about how to keep them hydrated and the reasons why they don’t necessarily eat certain types of food.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at what stick insects drink.

Stick Insects Drink Just Water

Water is the only thing that stick insects drink because it’s what keeps them hydrated. You can’t substitute water in a stick insect’s diet.

They also need water to help keep their skin supple when they moult because if they can’t moult correctly when the skin is too tough, it could leave them severely deformed – or worse.

So we know that water is important, but how do stick insects get it?

It’s All in the Leaves

You may have noticed that the majority of guides talk about the need to always provide fresh leaves to stick insects because they won’t eat it otherwise, even if they’re starving.

This is true and it’s not necessarily just because your pets are extremely picky about what they eat. Often, it is a case of needing hydration.

Leaves that have brown edges no longer have any nutritional value and no hydration. Your stick insects will not touch them.

On the other hand, the little veins in fresh leaves are filled with water because it’s how they survive. So, when you pick some leaves and place them inside your stick insect tank, they are providing vital water droplets for your stick insects.

It’s also why you need to take precautions to ensure that the leaves remain fresh for the longest possible time.

How Can You Keep Leaves Fresh for Your Stick Insects?

Leaves already start to lose the water they have inside them from the moment they are picked. This effect is amplified if you’re keeping exotic stick insects in an enclosure that uses heat bulbs and mats.

You should take the branches or stems of your food source of choice and submerge them in water. In many ways this is like providing life support for the leaves. The stems can continue to suck up water even after they have been removed from the tree or bush.

You should also mist the enclosure every couple of days or so. This accomplishes two things:

First of all, it raises the humidity levels, which many exotic stick insects require to moult successfully.

Secondly, it leaves water droplets on the leaves. This provides them with an extra drink of water, which is important for stick insects that live in conditions of high humidity and heat.

Is it Dangerous to Place Leaves in a Vase?

Whenever guides advise stick insect owners to place leaves in a vase or other container filled with water, it brings up the question as to whether stick insects can swim.

Stick insects that have developed beyond the nymph stage are capable of pulling themselves out of a small amount of water if they happen to fall in. Not that they are likely to fall when they are large enough anyway, though.

However, nymphs are tiny and are not capable of extracting themselves from even the smallest amount of water. That’s why you have to take care of them.

The easiest way to do this is to use a mosquito net. The stems of the leaves will fit in the holes and into the water. But the holes will be too small for the nymphs to fall in while also offering a good footing for them.

Do Any Stick Insects Drink Water Directly?

Many insects drink directly from water and don’t exclusively get their sustenance from the leaves themselves. Some stick insects are also capable of this.

The Haaniella species is one stick insect that needs a drinking source of standing water. They require a low bowl to drink from.

You may be shocked at how long they will keep their heads underneath the water. Some novice stick insect owners might even believe that their stick insect is in trouble and needs rescuing.

However, before you rush in to save them, you should remember that a stick insect does not breathe through their mouth or nose. They get their oxygen through spiracles on the thorax and abdomen.

So a stick insect with its head under the water is in no more danger than you sinking your hand into a pool of water.

How Should You Prepare Standing Water for Stick Insects?

If you happen to own one of the few species that do require drinking water from some sort of receptacle, you need to take care as to where you source that water from.

Water sources differ all over the world. Depending on the country you live in, the water may have been heavily chlorinated or laced with large amounts of fluorine.

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This may just give the water a funny taste for humans, but for stick insects this can be fatal.

It’s best to avoid using tap water for your stick insects, unless you really know what you’re doing. Tap water should be made to stand for a day or two before giving it to your stick insects. Heavily chlorinated water should be avoided completely.

You can also use rain water. Rain water is perfectly digestible for stick insects and can be used immediately. If you have a water butt in your garden, you’ll have no problems having a constant supply of water.

Last Word – Keep Your Stick Insects Well Watered

The majority of stick insects are able to take in their water as they consume fresh leaves. Some stick insects may require a low, open receptacle to drink from.

But you need to ensure that water is plentiful and isn’t contaminated with additives, such as chlorine and fluorine. It could inadvertently kill your pet.

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Noon Edition

By Don Glass

Posted March 16, 2004

Like humans, insects do need water. How they get their water depends a lot on their diets. Herbivorous insects, those that feed on plants, get most of their water from their food because plants contain a lot of water.

But carnivorous insects often have to get their water from somewhere other than their prey, and often they’ll go to plants for their water too, drinking from fruit maybe. Or they might sip from the morning dew or from raindrops or from edges of ponds or puddles.

If they’re blood suckers, they probably get their water from their food. It’s worth noting that not all mouthparts are the same and this too affects the ways an insect is able to get water. There are basically two kinds of insect mouths.

There are chewers and suckers. Some chewers may have a difficult time trying to draw water from a pond, whereas getting their water from chewing a leaf is simple.

Suckers, on the other hand, have a tube-like mouthpart called a proboscis that allows them to get liquid by sucking or lapping, whether from the nectar of flowers or from a soda can.

What Do Bats Eat?

If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where bats live, you’ve probably seen them flying around at dusk. A lot of people are afraid of bats, worried they’ll get stuck in their hair or suck their blood. The answer to one important question may help alleviate some of that fear: What do bats eat? I’m here to answer that, and more!

What do bats eat?

Bats mostly eat insects. Most types of bats prefer flying insects such as mosquitos, but some bat species eat nectar, fruit, and pollen. Of thousands of species, only three drink blood, but they avoid human blood whenever possible.

Bats are an essential part of the ecosystem, and they play a vital role in keeping everything in balance. They eat insects that spread diseases to humans and livestock, and they are even responsible for a significant portion of pollination!

There is so much more to what bats eat and why, I have a whole article below bursting with facts to satisfy your hunger for knowledge. Let’s dig in!

The Bats’ Diet

As with most animals, this answer depends on the species. There are more than 1,200 species of bats around the globe. To put that number into perspective, bats make up about 20% of all the classified mammals in the world.

With that many species—and how many individual bats that must be—it’s safe to say they can’t possibly all eat the same things. However, the majority of bats eat similar foods: insects.

We’ll get to the other foods bats eat in a moment, but let’s take a look at their biggest meal.

How many insects do bats eat?

Bats come in all shapes and sizes. A smaller bat, such as the aptly named little brown bat, will obviously eat much less than the flying fox bat. But even the tiniest bats eat a significant number of insects each night.

One little brown bat (yes, it’s really called that!) can eat enough insects to weigh about the same as one or two grapes. I realize that doesn’t sound like a lot to a big human being, but considering that a little brown bat is only .29 oz, which is 8.22 grams, while a single grape is about 5 grams, it is still pretty incredible!

To put it simply, a little brown bat eats nearly its own body weight in insects every single night! One hundred little brown bats eating insects can eat approximately one pound in a night.

It is estimated that bats (in general, not accounting for breed specifics) can eat about 8,000 insects every night. Most of those are mosquitos, which mean you’ll have less chance of being bitten by an itchy bug and contracting some terrible diseases.

To give you an even bigger number to swallow, scientists estimate that bats eat about four tons of insects each year.

How do bats eat insects?

Whether an insect flies or crawls on the ground, bats can still find them. They use echolocation to locate insects in the dark.

When a bat finds a suitable flying bug, they swoop in and snatch it right out of the air. But they don’t usually use their teeth. They use their tails to catch the insect, then land to go eat it in peace.

If the insect is on the ground, bats dive to surprise them. These bats don’t use their tails to scoop the insects up. They chomp down with a mouthful of tiny, razor-sharp teeth. The bat will stay on the ground long enough to consume its meal, then it takes flight once more to look for the next course.

What else do bats eat other than insects?

Though about 70% of bats eat insects, there are a few varieties that eat other foods. The flying fox, for example, is about five feet long and weighs around three pounds. It would take far too many tiny insects to fill his belly, so he eats nectar and pollen instead.

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The flying fox will also eat fruit. It prefers nectar and pollen, but it will eat fruit if its normal food sources are scarce. Some people set out fresh, cut fruit for flying foxes and other fruit bats. Some favorites include mangos and apples.

A small percentage of bats can be called true carnivores. That means they eat meat. For their meals, they prefer frogs, fish, lizards, and small birds. They have even been known to eat other bats.

How do bats eat fruit?

Even though they have sharp teeth, bats don’t usually chew and swallow pieces of fruit. They prefer to pierce the skin of their fruit, suck out the juices, and then spit out any seeds or pulp.

Maybe that seems wasteful to you. But did you know that fruit bats are one of the ways fruit trees spread their seeds? If it weren’t for bats, some species of trees would have a very hard time getting their seeds planted far enough away to spread.

How do bats eat nectar?

I was surprised to learn that many bat species prefer to eat nectar. I assumed butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees were the only ones doing that. Maybe it’s because bats are most active at night, but I never thought they’d go after flowers!

It’s true though. These little bats have extra long tongues that can reach deep into flowers to find the delicious nectar. Sadly, nectar-eating bats are at high risk for extinction. It’s much harder for these bats to find enough food compared to insect-eating bats.

Do bats really eat pollen?

I know it seems strange to think of creepy bats eating pollen, but they do. In fact, bats that eat pollen are responsible for a large amount of the pollination going on in desert and tropical climates. They are especially active in the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, and Africa.

Like bees and butterflies, pollen-eating bats will go from flower to flower looking for a snack. They collect and deposit pollen just like bees!

This incredible video shows a rare tube-lipped bat drinking nectar. You can see how long his tongue is and how he must reach way inside the flower to get his meal. While he’s there, you can see the flower depositing pollen onto the bat’s head, which he then brings to the next flower.

How do bats eat meat?

Bats have the same hunting techniques for vertebrates as they do for insects. They use their echolocation to locate and track their prey, then swoop in to eat them.

The fringe-lipped bat loves frogs. They listen for the frog mating calls, then snatch them from the water.

The spectral bat and the ghost bat are two species that excel at hunting other bats.

Do bats drink blood?

Vampire bats do exist, but they aren’t as common as the other types of bats. Yes, vampire bats drink blood… but they’re not interested in yours.

Vampire bats prefer animal blood over human blood. Some people think that humans just don’t taste good to bats. I’m happy about that!

The common vampire bat prefers larger animals. They feed on sleeping cows and horses, for example.

How do bats drink blood?

Thankfully, it’s not scary for the animals that vampire bats feed on. In fact, the animals don’t even know the bat is there.

Bats can sense a sleeping animal’s heat and hear their deep breathing. They land on the animal, make a tiny bite, then lap up the blood. The animal doesn’t even wake up!

Bats alright

As you can see, bats aren’t scary. They serve an important function in the ecosystem. Without bats, the world would be overrun with insects. Humans and animals would catch diseases in much higher numbers, and crops would be destroyed.

Bats are a great way to see if an environment is healthy or not. They are very sensitive, so if there are bats in your neighborhood, it means it’s healthy.

Related Questions

What do bats drink? Bats drink water. They land on puddles, lakes, calm streams, and even in birdbaths. They don’t usually drink right from the water source, though. They often prefer to lick water off their bodies instead.

Do bats eat mice? Some bats eat mice, yes. However, most bats do not eat vertebrates such as mice, rats, and rabbits. There is a small percentage of bats that eat animals such as mice. Estimates are about 1% of bats that eat vertebrates. These same bats may also eat fish, frogs, lizards, and birds.

What do bats eat in the winter? Since most bats eat insects and the insects are either hibernating or dead in the winter, it’s hard for them to find food. Bats have evolved to hibernate to save energy until the weather warms up and the insects are back. They sometimes wake up in the winter to find water, but then go back to sleep.

Some bats will migrate in winter instead of hibernating. In that case, they eat the same things in winter that they did in the other seasons. They just eat them in a different location.

Hello everybody! This is French, the author behind the animal article you have just stumbled upon. Writing about critters of various sizes and shapes has been a wonderful experience so far! With a Bachelor’s of Science in Wildlife: Conservation and Management from Humboldt State University, I have been passionate about using my degree to teach others about animals. In fact, education is among the most important ways that we can save future wildlife. These articles are a way to help others relate to these animals, thus raising awareness. If you have any questions about biology, wildlife, botany, or any other science, feel free to ask!

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