Respiration in Cockroach and Earthworm


Different animals have different respiratory organs and they are different from that human. Insects, as well as worms, are the most important components in the environment. The respiration processes of cockroaches and earthworms are different from each other. Earthworms are able to respire through the help of their moist body. On the other hand, cockroaches can respire through spiracles which are present on the lateral surface of the main body.

What is Respiration?

Respiration is a process which is metabolic in nature and all organisms having life, go through this process. In this process, the first matter of involvement is the synthesis of energy. The energy is taken by in-taking oxygen and the liberation of carbon dioxide. The process happens with the oxidation of complex organic substances.

The respiratory systems of insects differ from those of humans. In the case of humans, there are respiratory organs called lungs and they respire through this. Some animals in this category having the same respiratory organ are lions, birds, cows, snakes, elephants as well as humans.

In the case of worms and insects, there are no such respiratory organs and they perform their process of respiration through different organs.

Process of Respiration in Cockroach

Cockroach, one of the most common visible insects in the everyday life has a specific type of respiration process. The respiratory organ of this insect is called spiracles and it is considered to be a small opening on the sides of the body. The process shows that air enters through the external openings to the respiratory system.

Figure 1: Morphology of cockroach

After that, the spiracles perform the role of muscular valves. The organ through which the cockroach respires is called the trachea. It is nothing but a dense array of a network of air tubes found in the internal system. It is helpful in balancing the pressure inside the internal system.

It is seen that when oxygen enters the body via spiracles into the tracheal tubes, it mainly diffuses into different tissues as well as cells of the body. In this part, oxygen is the matter of energy in the body and the release of carbon dioxide is the result of the respiratory process.

Respiration in Earthworm

The respiration process of earthworms is one of the interesting facts in this system of respiration. It is seen that earthworms consist of moist skin and that is the reason they are named slimy creatures. The main cause for this moist skin is the presence of breathing organs in their skin.

Figure 2: Earthworm respire through their skin

It is observed that their skin is able to pass air and the gas exchange occurs through its moist skin and capillaries. Haemoglobin is one of the most important factors here and it helps in picking up oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide in the blood.

Here, earthworms are also able to transport salt and water with the use of their moist skin. This process of movement is called the process of active transport. One of the noticeable factors is that frogs are able to breathe through their skin too.

About the Network of the Trachea

Trachea is one of the most important parts of the respiratory system of the cockroaches. It is seen that there are different parts in the trachea that together performs the system of respiration in cockroaches. The most important parts of the respiratory system are −

  • Spiracles

  • Trachea

  • Tracheoles

Spiracles are mainly referring to the presence of small holes on the lateral surface of the main body. They are called the external openings in the body of cockroaches and cockroach takes air with the aid of spiracles. The air from the spiracles travels through the tracheal tube. Muscular sphincters are responsible for the opening of spiracles.

Trachea refers to the tube-like structure and they open through the spiracles. These parts are the most important parts as they carry oxygen from the air and transfer it to the whole parts of the body.

Tracheoles is considered to be the subdivided parts from the trachea and they mainly appear as thinner tube-like structures. They consist of a fluid network and they are able to exchange air by the diffusion process. In some cases, the respiratory system of cockroaches is considered to be the same as humans. The reason behind this is that they consist of spiracles and it acts like nostrils.


This tutorial shows that both earthworms and cockroaches have different organs for the process of respiration. The whole body of the earthworms are able in this process of respiration. Their moist body is the most important organ for their respiratory system. On the other hand, spiracles are the most important organ for the cockroaches. The air enters through the spiracles and goes to the tracheal tube and in this way, the respiration process occurs.


Q1. What kind of tissue fluid is present in cockroaches?

Ans. Name of the tissue fluid which is present in the body of the cockroaches are called haemolymph. This fluid flows in every part of the body and it is built up of 90% of watery fluid.

Q2. How many spiracles are present in the respiratory system of cockroaches?

Ans. It is seen that there are mainly 10 pairs of spiracles on each side of the body. Therefore, the total number of spiracles is 20 pairs which participate in the process of respiration.

Updated on: 24-Apr-2023


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