What Is a Respiration Organ?

Nicky Sutton

A respiration organ is an organ that is part of the respiratory system within the body. It works with other respiration organs to facilitate gaseous exchange which is the absorption of oxygen into the body and the expulsion of carbon dioxide. Upper respiratory organs such as the nose, oral cavity and pharynx serve to filter and moisten air as it passes into the body. The lower respiratory system facilitates gaseous exchange with the blood.

The respiratory system is made up of the mouth, throat, nose, sinuses, bronchial tubes, and lungs.
The respiratory system is made up of the mouth, throat, nose, sinuses, bronchial tubes, and lungs.

There are several respiration organs within the human respiratory system that together, serve to oxygenate the blood. They are responsible for gaseous exchange, where oxygen is transported to the blood, a process known as inspiration. In expiration, carbon dioxide is removed from the blood.

The larynx is commonly called the voice box.
The larynx is commonly called the voice box.

Air passes through the upper respiratory system first, which includes the nasal cavity and nose, pharynx and paranasal cavities. The upper respiratory system is responsible for filtering air as it moves down towards the lower respiratory system. A well known respiration organ, the nose, contains a vestibule with hairs that filter large dust particles from the air. Following on from the nose is the pharynx, which is also part of the digestive system.

Respiration involves breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide.
Respiration involves breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide.

Working together in the lower respiratory system are the lungs, bronchi, larynx, also known as the voice box, and trachea. The larynx, which contains the vocal cords, is made of cartilage, and regulates airflow. Moving down from the larynx is a respiration organ called the trachea which is tubular tract that divides into two bronchi; these lead on to the lungs.

Air is forced through these airways, down towards the lungs. Here, the primary bronchi branch into smaller passageways called secondary bronchi, and these divide into even smaller tubes called bronchioles. The lungs are a respiration organ positioned in the pleural cavities. They contain alveoli which perform gaseous exchange with the blood within pulmonary capillaries. The blood is oxygenated and carbon dioxide is removed and sent back up towards the upper respiratory organs.

Respiration organs of different types also exist in other animals. In some small animals, the skin is a respiration organ where air is exchanged through the surface of the body. Fish have gills to breath in water, and some scorpions and spiders use primitive forms of lungs called book lungs. These are made of wrinkly tissue with a large surface area to absorb the maximum amount of oxygen. Some arthropods and invertebrates breath through holes in their body that transport air directly to organs, where it is absorbed.

An image of the respiratory system.
An image of the respiratory system.

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Discussion Comments


@literally45-- I'm not an expert but I believe that all insects breathe through their skin. They have very small openings in the skin, sort of like valves, that can open and close. The air is taken in to a series of tubes. Then the oxygen is delivered to the cells much like in humans.

It's always interesting to learn about respiration in animals and other creatures. There are so many different types of respiratory organs out there.

A funny one is a turtle's, well eat least some turtle's, that can breathe in water through the rear end. Some say buttocks, but turtles don't really have buttocks. Some turtles that live in water have a pouch in back that allow them to absorb oxygen from the water, much fish do with their gills. It's strange and fascinating at the same time.


Do all insects breathe through their skin? I always assumed that they have lungs like we do. It would be kind of cool to breathe through skin though. It would be very difficult to die from suffocation. It's a risk for us, if something got stuck in our throat or something. If we could breathe out of our skin, we would not be out of oxygen.


We breathe in and out without thinking but don't realize all that's involved in the process. I had no idea that so many organs were involved in it and that it's actually all very complex. It seems so simple to us.

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