Animals with tracheal respiration

Respiration is one of the actions that all living beings share, since it is the way in which a living being exchanges gases from the environment with its own interior, which allows obtaining a gas that it will then convert into energy to carry out its metabolism and, in this way, to be able to live. Breathing can be done in many ways. In the case of plants, they mainly breathe CO2, while animals do so from the gas that plants expel, oxygen. However, even in the case of animals, there are many different forms of respiration and, although pulmonary respiration is one of the best known, mainly because it is the system used by humans, it is by no means the only one. 

What is tracheal breathing

The tracheal respiration is characterized by the absence of large organs for conducting breathing as in the case of animals with lungs. Instead, tracheal breathing animals are characterized by having various openings throughout their bodies. These openings connect directly to a tube, called the trachea, which branches into smaller tubes called tracheae, which, finally, are those that distribute the air to the cells of the animal’s body.

In this way, the tracheal respiration system is characterized by being a system extended throughout the entire body and that allows air circulation directly from the external environment to the interior of the organism of the animal with tracheae. Although it is a little-known breathing system, it is also one of the most common, since it is typical of particularly small animals, which, although they are small in size, also implies that they have a very large number of specimens. high.

As we have mentioned, it is a common breathing system to some of the smallest animals that we can find. Some examples of names for animals with tracheal respiration are as follows:

  • Insects: insects are a group of animals characterized by being invertebrate animals and possessing three pairs of legs (six in total). They are one of the most widespread animals of all, and can be found in both aquatic ecosystems such as rivers or lagoons and on land, with the exception of the Antarctic continent. Some of the most common examples of these animals with tracheal respiration are ants, wasps, bees or beetles among many others.
  • Myriapods: other animals with tracheal respiration are myriapods, which are similar to insects but are characterized by being terrestrial and having many more pairs of legs. Some of the best known examples are centipedes, millipedes or symphyla, among others.
  • Arachnids: another group of animals with tracheal respiration are arachnids, similar to insects but, in this case, they are animals with four pairs of legs and lacking antennae. Some of the best known examples are spiders, scorpions, ticks, or mites .
  • Onychophores: they are a group of animals characterized by having two claws in addition to their numerous legs. They are usually called “velvety worms”, although they have their own characteristics that differentiate them from other similar species. Two large families are distinguished, the Peripatidae and the Peripatopsidae.

As we have seen, tracheal respiration is characterized by being used by small animals. This is not by chance, since it is a type of respiration that, lacking organs that allow the absorption of large amounts of air from the environment, as happens with the lungs, only allows this type of animal to have a small size. If some animals, such as insects, were to grow in size excessively, tracheal respiration would be inefficient in supplying oxygen to their organism, so they could die from drowning unless there were special conditions, such as atmospheres with an amount higher oxygen.

In this way, it is a type of respiration that can only be found in small animals , since the amount of oxygen that it allows to supply the body is less than that offered by more complex breathing systems, such as pulmonary, and yes which has allowed animals that use this respiration system to grow to much larger sizes.

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