During discontinuous gas exchange cycles in insects, spiracular opening follows a typical prolonged period of spiracle closure. Gas exchange with the environment occurs mostly during the period of full spiracular opening. In this study we tested the hypothesis that recently reported ventilatory movements during the spiracle closure period serve to mix the tracheal system gaseous contents, and support diffusive exchanges with the tissues. Using heliox (21% O2, 79% He), we found that by increasing oxygen diffusivity in the gas phase, ventilatory movements of Schistocerca gregaria were significantly delayed compared with normoxic conditions. Exposure to hyperoxic conditions (40% O2, 60% N2) resulted in a similar delay in forced ventilation. Together, these results indicate that limits to oxygen diffusion to the tissues during spiracle closure trigger ventilatory movements, which in turn support tissue demands. These findings contribute to our understanding of the mechanistic basis of respiratory gas exchange between insect tissues and the environment.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
- Schistocerca gregaria
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Molecular Biology