Annelida: Oligochaete Circulation and Respiration

Oligochaete Circulation and Respiration

The circulatory system is that typical of the annelids and has many contractile vessels, or hearts. Although a few aquatic forms have gills for respiration, most oligochaetes lack such specialized structures and use the capillaries of their body walls for respiratory exchange. Oxygen dissolved in the soil water diffuses through the moist epidermis of the worm. If earthworms are forced to the surface, as when their burrows are filled with rainwater, they suffocate as a result of desiccation.

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