1. The relationship between the temperature of the cuticle and its permeability to water has been determined for a number of different terrestrial arthropods
2. In most of these animals the waterproofing wax loses its great impermeability to water very abruptly at a particular transition temperature; that temperature varies appreciably with the individual, but appears to be characteristic of any one species at a particular age within a particular instar. No change in permeability with temperature was found in Tipula sp. taken from soil, in which the cuticle was greatly damaged; above 48° C. the permeability of the cuticle of Schistocerca nymphs changes rapidly with increasing temperature, but this change is not abrupt.
3. In the permeability/temperature curves for larvae of Pieris, Tenebrio, Calliphora and Nematus, pupae of Calliphora and adults of Schistocerca, Ixodes and Ornithodorus only one transition discontinuity is found. In all these animals the wax maintains almost constant permeability up to the point of transition, above which permeability increases very rapidly with temperature.
4. Immediately after moulting, Rhodnius nymphs and pupae of Tenebrio and Pieris also reveal only one transition point; this occurs at a comparatively low temperature. But when cement is secreted over the primary wax layer, a second and higher transition point is found which is independent of the first point. The lower transition temperature seems constant in position during the life of an instar, but the upper point occurs at progressively higher temperatures as the instar ages. The evidence suggests that these animals have two special waterproof layers of wax, the one with high transition temperature occurring on the outer surface of the cement. This outer layer could arise by the migration of wax from the primary layer (with lower transition temperature) through the cement to the outer surface, there to lose volatile components and waterproof the surface.
5. In every animal investigated a permanent increase in permeability is produced by heating a wax layer above its transition point; after such treatment no transition point can be found.
6. From calculations of the absolute permeability of the various wax layers, and from the behaviour of the wax, it is suggested that all epicuticular waxes are laid down with some special molecular arrangement and that in very waterproof insects this may extend throughout the thickness of the wax layers; in less waterproof insects only a portion of the wax layer (as in the cockroach) may be specially organized.
7. Very slight mechanical damage promotes increased transpiration through the cuticle. Stationary adsorptive dusts applied directly to a primary wax layer do not affect permeability; applied to wax above the cement, they promote rates of evaporation in excess of the value exhibited by the same cuticle having a primary wax layer alone. This phenomenon is discussed in relation to the distribution of water within the transpiring cuticle.