Hemolymph

Hemolymph

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Hemolymph, or haemolymph, is a fluid in the circulatory system
Circulatory system
The circulatory system is an organ system that passes nutrients , gases, hormones, blood cells, etc...

 of some arthropods (including spiders, crustacean
Crustacean
Crustaceans form a very large group of arthropods, usually treated as a subphylum, which includes such familiar animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles. The 50,000 described species range in size from Stygotantulus stocki at , to the Japanese spider crab with a leg span...

s such as crab
Crab
True crabs are decapod crustaceans of the infraorder Brachyura, which typically have a very short projecting "tail" , or where the reduced abdomen is entirely hidden under the thorax...

s and shrimp
Shrimp
Shrimp are swimming, decapod crustaceans classified in the infraorder Caridea, found widely around the world in both fresh and salt water. Adult shrimp are filter feeding benthic animals living close to the bottom. They can live in schools and can swim rapidly backwards. Shrimp are an important...

, and even some insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

s such as stoneflies) and is analogous to the fluids and cells making up both blood
Blood
Blood is a specialized bodily fluid in animals that delivers necessary substances such as nutrients and oxygen to the cells and transports metabolic waste products away from those same cells....

 and interstitial fluid
Interstitial fluid
Interstitial fluid is a solution that bathes and surrounds the cells of multicellular animals. It is the main component of the extracellular fluid, which also includes plasma and transcellular fluid...

 (including water, protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

s, fat
Fat
Fats consist of a wide group of compounds that are generally soluble in organic solvents and generally insoluble in water. Chemically, fats are triglycerides, triesters of glycerol and any of several fatty acids. Fats may be either solid or liquid at room temperature, depending on their structure...

s, sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

s, hormone
Hormone
A hormone is a chemical released by a cell or a gland in one part of the body that sends out messages that affect cells in other parts of the organism. Only a small amount of hormone is required to alter cell metabolism. In essence, it is a chemical messenger that transports a signal from one...

s, etc.) in vertebrates such as birds and mammals. Additionally, some non-arthropods such as molluscs possess a hemolymphatic circulatory system.

Hemolymph fills all of the interior (the hemocoel) of the animal's body and surrounds all cells. It contains hemocyanin
Hemocyanin
Hemocyanins are respiratory proteins in the form of metalloproteins containing two copper atoms that reversibly bind a single oxygen molecule . Oxygenation causes a color change between the colorless Cu deoxygenated form and the blue Cu oxygenated form...

, a copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

-based protein which turns blue in color when oxygenated, instead of the iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

-based hemoglobin
Hemoglobin
Hemoglobin is the iron-containing oxygen-transport metalloprotein in the red blood cells of all vertebrates, with the exception of the fish family Channichthyidae, as well as the tissues of some invertebrates...

 in red blood cells found in vertebrates, thus giving hemolymph a blue-green color rather than the red color of vertebrate blood. When not oxygenated, hemolymph quickly loses its color and appears grey. The hemolymph of lower arthropods, including most insects, is not used for oxygen transport because these animals respirate
Respiration (physiology)
'In physiology, respiration is defined as the transport of oxygen from the outside air to the cells within tissues, and the transport of carbon dioxide in the opposite direction...

 directly from their body surfaces (internal and external) to air, but it does contain nutrients such as proteins and sugars.

Hemolymph can contain nucleating agents that confer extra cellular freezing protection. Such nucleating agents have been found in the hemolymph of insects of several orders, i.e., Coleoptera
Beetle
Coleoptera is an order of insects commonly called beetles. The word "coleoptera" is from the Greek , koleos, "sheath"; and , pteron, "wing", thus "sheathed wing". Coleoptera contains more species than any other order, constituting almost 25% of all known life-forms...

 (beetles), Diptera
Fly
True flies are insects of the order Diptera . They possess a pair of wings on the mesothorax and a pair of halteres, derived from the hind wings, on the metathorax...

 (flies), and Hymenoptera
Hymenoptera
Hymenoptera is one of the largest orders of insects, comprising the sawflies, wasps, bees and ants. There are over 130,000 recognized species, with many more remaining to be described. The name refers to the heavy wings of the insects, and is derived from the Ancient Greek ὑμήν : membrane and...

.

Muscular movements by the animal during locomotion
Animal locomotion
Animal locomotion, which is the act of self-propulsion by an animal, has many manifestations, including running, swimming, jumping and flying. Animals move for a variety of reasons, such as to find food, a mate, or a suitable microhabitat, and to escape predators...

 can facilitate hemolymph movement, but diverting flow from one area to another is limited. When the heart
Heart
The heart is a myogenic muscular organ found in all animals with a circulatory system , that is responsible for pumping blood throughout the blood vessels by repeated, rhythmic contractions...

 relaxes, blood is drawn back toward the heart through open-ended pores (ostia
Ostium
Ostium may refer to:Anatomy*Ostium of Fallopian tube*Ostium primum or foramen ovale of the developing heart*Ostium maxillare of the maxillary sinus*Ostium of female lepidoptera genitalia...

).

Hemolymph is composed of water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

, inorganic
Inorganic chemistry
Inorganic chemistry is the branch of chemistry concerned with the properties and behavior of inorganic compounds. This field covers all chemical compounds except the myriad organic compounds , which are the subjects of organic chemistry...

 salt
Salt
In chemistry, salts are ionic compounds that result from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base. They are composed of cations and anions so that the product is electrically neutral...

s (mostly Na+
Sodium
Sodium is a chemical element with the symbol Na and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal and is a member of the alkali metals; its only stable isotope is 23Na. It is an abundant element that exists in numerous minerals, most commonly as sodium chloride...

, Cl-
Chlorine
Chlorine is the chemical element with atomic number 17 and symbol Cl. It is the second lightest halogen, found in the periodic table in group 17. The element forms diatomic molecules under standard conditions, called dichlorine...

, K+
Potassium
Potassium is the chemical element with the symbol K and atomic number 19. Elemental potassium is a soft silvery-white alkali metal that oxidizes rapidly in air and is very reactive with water, generating sufficient heat to ignite the hydrogen emitted in the reaction.Potassium and sodium are...

, Mg2+
Magnesium
Magnesium is a chemical element with the symbol Mg, atomic number 12, and common oxidation number +2. It is an alkaline earth metal and the eighth most abundant element in the Earth's crust and ninth in the known universe as a whole...

, and Ca2+
Calcium
Calcium is the chemical element with the symbol Ca and atomic number 20. It has an atomic mass of 40.078 amu. Calcium is a soft gray alkaline earth metal, and is the fifth-most-abundant element by mass in the Earth's crust...

), and organic compounds
Organic chemistry
Organic chemistry is a subdiscipline within chemistry involving the scientific study of the structure, properties, composition, reactions, and preparation of carbon-based compounds, hydrocarbons, and their derivatives...

 (mostly carbohydrate
Carbohydrate
A carbohydrate is an organic compound with the empirical formula ; that is, consists only of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, with a hydrogen:oxygen atom ratio of 2:1 . However, there are exceptions to this. One common example would be deoxyribose, a component of DNA, which has the empirical...

s, protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

s, and lipid
Lipid
Lipids constitute a broad group of naturally occurring molecules that include fats, waxes, sterols, fat-soluble vitamins , monoglycerides, diglycerides, triglycerides, phospholipids, and others...

s). The primary oxygen transporter molecule is hemocyanin.

There are free-floating cells, the hemocyte
Hemocyte
A hemocyte is a cell that plays a role in the immune system of invertebrates. It is found within the hemolymph.Hemocytes are phagocytes of invertebrates....

s, within the hemolymph. They play a role in the arthropod immune system
Immune system
An immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and needs to distinguish them from the organism's own...

. The immune system resides in the hemolymph. As the insect grows, the hemolymph works something like a hydraulic system, enabling the insect to expand segments before they are sclerotized.

The volume of hemolymph needed for such a system is kept to a minimum by a reduction in the size of the body cavity. The hemocoel is divided into chambers called sinuses.

In the grasshopper
Grasshopper
The grasshopper is an insect of the suborder Caelifera in the order Orthoptera. To distinguish it from bush crickets or katydids, it is sometimes referred to as the short-horned grasshopper...

, the closed portion of the system consists of tubular hearts and an aorta running along the dorsal side of the insect. The hearts pump hemolymph into the sinuses of the hemocoel where exchanges of materials take place.

Coordinated movements of the body muscles gradually bring the hemolymph back to the dorsal sinus surrounding the hearts. Between contractions, tiny valves in the wall of the hearts open and allow hemolymph to enter.

This "open" system might appear to be inefficient compared to closed circulatory systems like those possessed by mammals, but the two have very different demands being placed on them. In vertebrates, the circulatory system is responsible for transporting oxygen to all the tissues and removing carbon dioxide from them. It is this requirement that establishes the level of performance demanded of the system. The efficiency of the vertebrate system is far greater than is needed for transporting nutrients, hormones, and so on, whereas in insects, exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide occurs in the tracheal system
Invertebrate trachea
The invertebrate trachea refers to the open respiratory system composed of spiracles, tracheae, and tracheoles that terrestrial arthropods have to transport metabolic gases to and from tissues....

. Hemolymph plays no part in the process in most insects. In a few insects living in low-oxygen environments, there are hemoglobin-like molecules that bind oxygen and transport it to the tissues. Therefore, the demands placed upon the system are much lower. Some arthropods and most molluscs possess the copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

-containing hemocyanin
Hemocyanin
Hemocyanins are respiratory proteins in the form of metalloproteins containing two copper atoms that reversibly bind a single oxygen molecule . Oxygenation causes a color change between the colorless Cu deoxygenated form and the blue Cu oxygenated form...

, however, for oxygen transport.

Specialist uses


In some species hemolymph has other uses than just being a blood analogue. Some species of insect are able to autohaemorrhage when they are attacked by predators. Queens of the ant genus Leptanilla
Leptanilla
Leptanilla is a genus of ant in the subfamily Leptanillinae. Like other genera in this subfamily, the queen is fed by the hemolymph of their own larvae, which have specialized processes for this purpose.-Biology:...

are fed with hemolymph produced by the larvae
Larvae
In Roman mythology, lemures were shades or spirits of the restless or malignant dead, and are probably cognate with an extended sense of larvae as disturbing or frightening...

.

External links


Boston Globe article on hemolymph: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/health_science/articles/2005/10/17/do_insects_have_blood/