How It Works

How do ants breathe?

Ants, like all insects, don’t have lungs, breathing through tiny holes in their sides – spiracles – one pair per segment. These lead into a network of tiny tubes – tracheae – permeating their entire body, getting narrower and narrower, supplying air (and hence oxygen), right to the tissues that use it, rather than using blood to transport it like us. Though they can open and close their spiracles, they have little ability to pump air in and out, which happens just through general movement. It’s this inability that stops insects getting as big as us, with our ultra-efficient lungs and blood.

  • Interesting Rob, funny to think how ants can carry 10 times their weight, don’t they ever get winded?