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Why do insects stop 'breathing'? To avoid damage from too much oxygen, say researchers

time; when it closes the system, it does so for only a very short time. In a stream of air with high oxygen on the other hand, the respiratory system opens briefly and then closes firmly for a long time. "In other words, insects are actively keeping oxygen out and doing it in a way that shows they know how to measure oxygen," Bradley said. "Their behavior indicates they are regulating oxygen."

Bradley and Hetz will next work on developing a comprehensive model of insect breathing. "We'd like to expand our present model to explain all aspects of insect breathing. And we'd like to examine insects that do not show this pattern -- for example, desert beetles. While we have shown that insects monitor oxygen precisely, we do not know how that happens or which tissues and cells are involved. Once we're equipped with a better knowledge of the insect breathing pattern it could shed light on when pesticides should be used to control insects -- crucial for the agricultural industry."


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Source:University of California - Irvine


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