In order to survive, flies need to have high levels of energy and large amounts of oxygen. This is accomplished through their incredible respiratory systems. While flies do need oxygen, they can’t wait for blood to bring it to them. Therefore, they have air tubes that carry oxygen-rich air to various parts of their body.
The respiratory system of insects is similar to that of sponges. Small holes called spiracles allow air to enter the interior tracheal system and tissues. Similarly, spiracles allow carbon dioxide to exit the body. The respiratory system of insects is based on simple gas exchange. The insect’s spiracles, or muscular valves, lead to its internal respiratory system, which is a densely networked series of tubes.
The best way to avoid such an emergency is to inform the airline of your oxygen needs in advance. Your healthcare provider will determine whether or not you will need to have in-flight oxygen and what rate it should flow at. This decision will depend on your general health and the results of your fit-to-fly tests. Some people with low blood oxygen levels will also need an additional test called a titration study. During this test, the patient will be given different levels of oxygen and retested. The titration study will determine which flow rate helps the person’s oxygen levels recover.
While insects do need oxygen, the respiratory system of insects is designed for their activity. For example, grasshoppers are most active when flying, but while resting they continue to take in the same high volume of oxygen. This is important for their overall health, as excess oxygen can damage their tissues.