Gas Exchange in Insects

Notes on gas exchange in insects 

  • Created by: cmulli16
  • Created on: 31-05-15 14:59

Structure of Gas Exchange System

The Tracheal System

  •  Insects have an internal network of tubes called Trachea, the surface openenings to the systems are called spiracles 
  • Gases move through the system via diffusion since respiring tissues set up diffusion gradients
  • In larger insects they also ventilate the tracheal sysem by rhythmically moving their bodies to pump air in and out of the system
  • The trachea branch into smaller tubes called tracheoles which are in contact with tissues 
  • These tracheoles end in fluid, gasses dissolve in the fluid which is taken in when muscles are active, providing oxygen. It is released again when the muscles are inactve removing carbon dioxide (
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Conservation of Water in Insects

Conservation of water

  • All teresstial organisms must compromise the need for an efficient gas-exchange system with conservation of water
  • Insects do this in 3 ways
    • Waterproof coverings- insects have waterproof coverings over thier body surfaces (exoskeleton covered with a waterproof cuticle)
    • Small surface area to volume ratio- minimise area over which water is lost
    • Spircales can be opened and closed by a valve, controlling +water loss
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