Formation of Primary Urine in Malpighian Tubules
The formation of primary urine in malpighian tubules is due to secretion and not due to ultrafiltration. The cells of the malpighian tubules actively transport potassium from the haemolymph and concentrate it in the lumen. This results in the passive osmotic entry of water followed by the diffusion of other low molecular weight substances like salts, sugar, and uric acid. Figure will help you in understanding this phenomena. The rate of urine formation in insects is proportional to the concentration of K+ in the haemolymph. Thus, active transport of K+ is primarily responsible for generating urine flow in the excretory organs of insects.
Figure: Functions of Malpighian Tubules of Insects
As the potassium-rich isosmotic tubular fluid moves towards the gut, there is secretion of molecules like uric acid and reabsorption of sugars and ions. However, major modification in the composition of the fluid occurs in the hind gut, particularly the rectum, where there is extensive reabsorption of water and physiologically important solutes like K+. Uric acid, which enters the hind gut as water soluble potassium urate, gets precipitated facilitating further withdrawal of water. Insects that live on liquid or wet food excrete large amounts of hypoosmotic liquid urine. On the other hand, insects that live on dry food produce extremely dry excreta. To facilitate water reabsorption, the rectum in terrestrial insects show modifications referred to as rectal glands or rectal pads.