Muscular movements by the animal during locomotion can facilitate hemolymph movement, but diverting flow from one area to another is limited. When the heart relaxes, blood is drawn back toward the heart through open-ended pores (ostia).
Hemolymph is composed of water, inorganic salts (mostly Na+, Cl-, K+, Mg2+, and Ca2+), and organic compounds (mostly carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids). The primary oxygen transporter molecule is hemocyanin.
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, 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. 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-containing hemocyanin, however, for oxygen transport.
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