Insects use discontinuous patterns of gas exchange as a means of avoiding the toxic effects of oxygen, researchers propose in
The report puts forward a novel interpretation for a mechanism that has puzzled scientists for decades. The peculiar type of breathing exhibited by some insects is a cyclical pattern of opening and closing the spiracles—apertures that connect the respiratory tracheal system with the exterior.
"Two main hypotheses have been proposed to explain discontinuous breathing," senior author Timothy Bradley of the University of California at Irvine told
To investigate the phenomenon, Bradley and co-author Stefan Hetz measured oxygen levels within the trachea of the moth