Respiration in cockroach and other insects is not same as the respiratory system in humans. Animals like birds, cows, elephants, frogs, lions, lizards, snakes, including humans, have lungs as their primary respiratory organ. In these animals, lungs perform the function of exchanging air with the aid of nostrils, nasal cavity, and the windpipe. However, insects and worms do not have lungs to perform their respiratory function. Therefore, breathing in insects and worms occur through a different system of respiratory organs, about which we will learn in this brief article.
Respiration in Cockroach
A cockroach has small openings on the sides of its body called spiracles. When the air enters the respiratory system of a cockroach through these external openings, spiracles act as muscular valves, leading to the internal respiratory system.
The internal respiratory system is a dense networked array of air tubes called tracheae. These tracheae balance the pressure within the system. As the oxygenated air from the atmosphere enters into the cockroach’s body through the spiracles into the tracheal tubes, it penetrates into the different cells and tissues of the body, where the oxygen gas is utilized to release energy. Similarly, the air rich in carbon dioxide, which is the product of the respiratory process, goes into the tracheae and moves out through the spiracles.
Respiration in Earthworm
Have you ever touched an earthworm? The skin of earthworms feels moist. That is why they are called slimy creatures. The reason behind their moist skin is that earthworms breathe through the skin. Air can easily pass through the skin of an earthworm. Gases are exchanged through its moist skin and capillaries, where the oxygen is picked up by the hemoglobin dissolved in the blood and carbon dioxide is released. Earthworms can also use their skin to move water and salts by active transport.
Interestingly, frogs can also use their skin to breathe. Although frogs have a pair of lungs to perform respiration, they often breathe through their skin.
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