Cockroaches stop breathing to stay alive!

September 23rd, 2009 - 12:40 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, Sept 23 (ANI): Australian scientists have found that cockroaches hold their breath in order to stay alive.

The study done by Dr Craig White, an animal physiologist at the University of Queensland, Brisbane and his team has been published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Butterfly pupae and beetles can hold their breath for hours, cockroaches, however, can only hold breath for five to seven minutes.

Cockroaches take in air through spiracles but sometimes they can shut them and stop breathing.

ABC Science quoted White as saying: “The problem with having this tracheal system that delivers oxygen directly to the cells is that it also carries water vapour out of the cells.

“The idea here is they close their spiracles when they have low requirement for oxygen, so then they don’t let the water out.”

This experiment proved the water loss theory.

Another reason for closing spiracles may be that this builds up carbon dioxide inside, making it easier to expel.

Researchers also suggest cockroaches may be doing this to cut down the intake of oxygen as too much oxygen is toxic.

According to White, the findings may help to find out how some cockroaches become immune to pesticides.

He said: “There have been theories that the strains of cockroaches that are resistant to pesticides might hold their breath for longer, for example.”

The report also proves that cockroaches can change their respiratory needs according to the requirements of their environment.

White added: “It suggests they will cope with that change…. They are extraordinarily robust.” (ANI)

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