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Respiration – Definition, Types, Characteristics, Examples

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Before going to be familiar with breath or respiration, we need to know obviously about breath and its types. Respiration is a very common concept to any organism on this earth. Respiration is a very important concept in biology, without respiration, there is no life for organisms.


Simply definitions of respiration, taking oxygen into the lungs and taking out carbon dioxide. Respiration is a procedure that is related to breathing. There are two ways of respiration. They are given as below:

  • Internal Respiration or cellular respiration.
  • External Respiration

Internal respiration or cellular respiration

This is one of the types of respiration involved in the exchange of gas between blood and cells in the body. Internal respiration or inner breath is partitioned into two types, which are given below. Internal respiration can also be called cellular respiration because internal respiration takes place within cells.

  • Aerobic respiration or high-impact breath.
  • Anaerobic respiration or low-impact breath.

Aerobic respiration or High impact breath

The word Aerobic came from the Greek language, where “aero” related to “air” and “bios” signifies “life”. Aerobic respiration wants oxygen to do its process. Aerobic respiration is a procedure that can take place in the presence of oxygen only, without oxygen, aerobic respiration cannot take place. In this aerobic respiration, carbon dioxide and water are the dominant important end products. Coming to the subject of energy in oxygen-consuming breath, it permits more energy.

The aerobic respiration process chemical equation is represented below:

C6H12O6+H2O⇒6CO2+6H2O+Energy(maximum energy)


  • Aerobic respiration or high-impact breath is taken place in plants or trees, mammals, or warm-blooded animals, animals, and birds.
  • Aerobic respiration is taken place in humans.

Anaerobic respiration or Low impact breath

The term Anaerobic came from the Greek language where “anaero” is related to “no oxygen” and also “bios” which is related to “life”. Anaerobic respiration needs no oxygen to do its process. Anaerobic respiration or low-impact breath is the way that can happen without any oxygen, as it were. Anaerobic respiration or low-impact breath has chemical reaction end products are liquor or alcohol. Coming to the topic of energy in anaerobic respiration, it delivers less energy.

The anaerobic respiration process in the equation form is represented as follows:

C6H12O6 ⇒ 2C3H6O3 + energy


Anaerobic respiration is taken place during the fermentation of yeast.

Variability between aerobic respiration and anaerobic respiration:


Aerobic Respiration 

Anaerobic Respiration

1.Aerobic respiration is a Greek word where “aero” means “air” and “bios” means “life”.Anaerobic respiration is a Greek word where “anaero” means “absence of oxygen” and “bios” means “life”.
2.Aerobic respiration is a chemical process that takes place in the presence of oxygen.Anaerobic respiration is a methodology that arises in the presence of no oxygen.
3.In this respiration, gasses are interchanged in the means of respiration.In anaerobic respiration, gasses are not interchanged in the means of respiration.
4.Examples of this aerobic respiration are found in mammals or warm-blooded animals, birds, animals, and humans. Aerobic respiration is launched in two cells named cytoplasm and mitochondria.An example of this anaerobic respiration is found in the fermentation procedure in yeast. This respiration is initiated in the cytoplasm.
5.In High impact breathing or aerobic respiration end products produced from the process are carbon dioxide and H2O  when glucose is the breakdown.Predominant end-products of low-impact breathing or anaerobic respiration is alcohol when glucose is the breakdown.

Characteristics of Anaerobic respiration

  • The first characteristic of anaerobic respiration is, that this respiration does not need any oxygen content to continue this process.
  • The second attribute of anaerobic respiration is this respiration significantly happens in mitochondria.
  • The outcome of this type of anaerobic respiration is alcohol and some energy.

Characteristics of aerobic respiration

  • One of the characteristics of aerobic respiration is this respiration needs oxygen content to move this process.
  • The second characteristic of aerobic respiration is this respiration majorly occurs in the cytoplasm and as well as mitochondria.
  • The outcome of this type of aerobic respiration is carbon dioxide and water.

External Respiration

External respiration is also recognized as breathing. External respiration is a technique to transfer oxygen and carbon dioxide between an animal and the climate or environment. This process occurs through the diffusion process. There are various kinds of living beings on the earth that have various strategies to extricate oxygen from the climate. Some mechanisms are given below.

  1. Lungs: This technique is used by mammals for external respiration.
  2. Gills: This approach is used by fishes for their external respiration.
  3. Trachea: This type of approach is used by the terrestrial arthropods and some insects around the earth.
  4. Diffusion into the blood: This approach is used by some worms and amphibians.
  5. Direct diffusion: This procedure is used by some organisms like jellyfishes and flatworms.

Contrast between Internal respiration and external respiration:


Internal respiration

External respiration

1.Internal respiration is a procedure that occurs between cells of the body.External respiration is an approach that occurs between cell and the environment.
2.In internal or inner respiration there is no point of breathing included.In external or outer respiration there is a point of breathing involved or included.
3.This approach occurs only in the absence of oxygen sometimes.This approach occurs in the presence of oxygen only. There is no area of absence of oxygen for this process.
4.No gas interchange procedure occurs in internal respiration. There is an area of gas interchanged in external respiration.
5.In internal respiration, oxygen is the main driving element for the chemical reaction.In external respiration main process revolves around how oxygen goes to the body and comes out as carbon dioxide.

Characteristics of Internal respiration

  •  The internal respiration process occurs between the cells in the body.
  •  No breathing or respiration involves in this internal respiration.

Characteristics of External respiration

  • The external respiration process is between cells and the climate on our earth.
  • Breathing or respiration must involve for this external respiration.

Conceptual Questions

Question 1: How does respiration occur in humans within their parts? Explain?


In humans, mainly lungs are the major part and important part for respiration process. There are two lungs in humans at the chest part. These lungs are used for inhaling and exhaling respiration. Inhaling is nothing but intake of air, whereas exhaling is releasing carbon dioxide into the environment. This is how respiration is in between lungs.

Question 2: How does respiration occur in cockroaches? Explain?


Like humans, there are no lungs for cockroaches. The cockroaches have tubes like structure, those structures called trachea. Those structures open on the surface of thorax and abdomen. If we paired, thorax and abdomen are like valve called spirals. Muscles near the spirals are always in closed position but when cockroach take air  muscles near the spiral are opens. Those muscles are also opens for also releasing carbon dioxide.

Question 3: How does respiration occur in monkeys? Explain?


Monkeys are mammals like humans. Both monkeys and humans are don’t lay eggs. From ancient days, ancients said that monkeys are transformed in to humans. Humans have right lung divided into three lobes where monkeys have four lobes. The respiration part of the monkey is lung only. Inhalation and exhalation done by that lung part. Lung of monkey is more weight than the humans.

Question 4: How does respiration occur in sharks? Explain?


Shark is related to fish family. We know that fish takes respiration through gills. Because of shark belongs to fish family, shark is also took respiration using gills. Shark takes breathing through gills when water passes through gills. Gills have that much of power that can take oxygen from water when fish passes through water.  Carbon dioxide from the shark is to come out from the gill tissue.

Question 5: How does respiration occur in earthworms? Explain?


Earthworm respiration occurs through earth warm skin itself. Gases exchange through the earthworm skin. Because of earthworm have moist skin, air is passes through earthworm easily. Oxygen is dissolved into the blood of earthworm because of this moist skin. Carbon dioxide is to come out through this skin only.

Question 6: How does respiration occur in beetles? Explain?


Beetles are belongs to insect family. These beetles’ family respire through spiracles. These beetles have 18 tiny openings. Those tiny openings, usually called spiracles. Oxygen is dip from the spiracles of beetles and carbon dioxide released from those spiracles in beetles.

Last Updated : 23 Jun, 2022
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