How do smaller organisms breathe? explains the four different ones to you Types of breathing in animals:

  • Lung breathing: Mammals, birds, reptiles and some amphibians
  • Gill breathing: Fish and crabs
  • Tracheal breathing: Insects, millipedes and spiders
  • Skin breathing: Amphibians, e.g. B. frogs
Why do living things breathe?

When breathing, organs and muscles are supplied with oxygen and without this no living being can survive.

How does breathing work?

Muscles are responsible for inhaling and exhaling (except for skin breathing). When breathing in the lungs, for example, they widen the chest. As you exhale, relax and then contract it again.

What exactly happens when you breathe?

When inhaled, air is transported into the respiratory tract (e.g. the lungs). Fine blood vessels then take up oxygen from this air. With the help of the blood, the oxygen is passed on to tissue and cells (except for tracheal breathing). There it is "processed". What remains is carbon dioxide. This is sent back and out again when you exhale from tissue and cells.

How do animals breathe? - Illustration: Silke /

How are the types of breathing similar?

In all types of breathing, it is important that oxygen gets IN to the cells and the remaining carbon is transported OUT of the cells.

... and how do they differ?

The respiratory organs and the way through the body are different:

organOxygen transport
lungabout the blood
Gillsabout the blood
Tracheaabout the trachea
skinabout the blood
Gills today, lungs tomorrow - example tadpole

Some animals go through a transformation (metamorphosis), whereby even the respiratory organs change. Example: The tadpole initially breathes through gills underwater. These regress during the metamorphosis. As an adult frog, the animal breathes through its skin and lungs. More about the transformation from tadpole to frog at: Frogs and Toads.

How did the breathing organs develop?

The more developed a living being is, the more developed its breathing. The simplest way is skin breathing and can only provide small animals with oxygen. Tracheal breathing and then gill breathing emerged from it. Pulmonary breathing is at its highest.