Insect Gas Exchange
Location: Outside U.S.
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.
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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Update: June 2012