Sea Spiders Breathe With Guts, Not Hearts


These spiders have no heart, and that’s ok, really. They have plenty of guts though, and that’s all they need.

from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170710122947.htm

To keep blood and oxygen flowing throughout their bodies, most animals depend on a beating heart. But researchers reporting in Current Biology on July 10 have discovered that sea spiders use a strange alternative: they move blood and oxygen throughout most of their bodies by pumping their guts.

The sea spiders have an unusual gut in the first place, the researchers say.

“Unlike us, with our centrally located guts that are all confined to a single body cavity, the guts of sea spiders branch multiple times and sections of gut tube go down to the end of every leg,” says H. Arthur Woods of the University of Montana, Missoula. “In effect, sea spiders guts are ‘space-filling’ and ubiquitous in their bodies in the same way that our circulatory systems are space-filling and ubiquitous.”

So, how do they use that branching system to move fluids? The answer is gut peristalsis. In fact, the human gut also uses peristalsis — waves of involuntary constriction and relaxation of muscles — to mix gut contents and move them along. Sea spiders, which take in oxygen directly through their cuticles, show peristaltic waves that are much more vigorous than would be needed for digestion.

Sea spiders move oxygen with pumping guts (not hearts)

To keep blood and oxygen flowing throughout their bodies, most animals depend on a beating heart. But researchers have discovered that sea spiders use a strange alternative: they move blood and oxygen throughout most of their bodies by pumping their guts. The sea spiders have an unusual gut in the f…

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About Paul Gordon 1081 Articles
Paul Gordon is the publisher and editor of iState.TV. He has published and edited newspapers, poetry magazines and online weekly magazines. He is the director of Social Cognito, an SEO/Web Marketing Company. You can reach Paul at pg@istate.tv

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