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How does an ant breathe?

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Answered 2008-06-11 21:32:12

If I recall correctly, the exoskeleton [its hard outer shell which is similar to our skin, except that it also acts as the ants skeleton] is porous, and thus allows the ant to absorb oxygen from the air, and to transpire harmful gasseous metabolic byproducts. j3h. A later, different, question was "tacked onto" this guestion. It is not exactly the same in that it asked if ants survive a hurricane. The answer is yes and no. Some do and some don't, much like all other kinds of animal life. Most ants have a survival technique which allows them to survive floods, which is a hurricane's number one threat to ants. In order to increase the chance of survival of the colony, the ants will gather the queen, the larvae, and as much of the food storage as possible, and move it to "high ground." If this is not possible, and they are inundated by water, they will "clump" together in a "ball," while holding on for dear life to the queen, the larvae, and the food supply. This ball will float, allowing a portion of the ants and their precious cargo to be above water, and possibly survive. Many ants will drown in the process, but usually enough of the ants and cargo will survive until the floating ball runs "aground," or against a tree or building, or such, and the survivors will climb to safety with the cargo, which will be the beginning of the new colony when the flood has subsided. j3h Like all insects, Ants do indeed breath. However, unlike humans and other mammals they do not have lungs and the oxygen is not carried by the blood. Instead they take oxygen in to their bodies through openings in the abdomen. This system of tubes, called tracheae and tracheoles, allows Atmospheric oxygen to pass to the tissues. The outside openings of tracheae are called "spiracles". Ants are small enough that they need only a few spiracles and these do not have valves to control the oxygen flow, as with larger insects.

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