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Name: Mukuni
Status: other
Grade: 9-12
Location: Outside U.S.
Country: Zambia
Date: Winter 2011-2012

How does the uptake of oxygen in insects increase during strenuous exercise?

During strenuous activity, O2 demand in insects can increase two to tenfold. There are a few mechanisms that they can employ to ramp up O2 intake:

1) Insects can simply tolerate lower internal O2 and higher internal CO2. This increases partial pressure gradients and enhances gas exchanges by either diffusion or convection. 2) Insects can open their spiracles wider or for longer periods of time to increase gas exchange. 3) Insects can increase convective ventilation through the spiracles and tracheal system (or gills) through abdominal pumping or gill waving. 4) Insects can reduce fluid levels in the tracheoles to enhance O2 delivery within the tissues, since O2 diffuses faster in air than in water.

Reference: Insect ecology: an ecosystem approach Timothy Duane Schowalter

Dr. Tim Durham Undergraduate Studies & University Colloquium Department of Biological Sciences Florida Gulf Coast University

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