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13.33: Respiratory System Organs

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Are all noses alike?

It all starts with the nose. OK, in humans maybe not the nose pictured above, but one similar to the nose below. Though the passage of air is probably similar in cows and humans. Air comes in and then where does it go?

Organs of the Respiratory System

The organs of the respiratory system that bring air into the body are divided among the upper respiratory tract and lower respiratory tract. These organs are shown in Figure below. In addition to the lungs, these organs include the pharynx, larynx, trachea and bronchi. The nasal cavity is also part of the respiratory system. The nose and nasal cavity filter, warm, and moisten the air we inhale. Hairs and mucus produced in the nose trap particles in the air and prevent them from reaching the lungs.

Respiratory system organs

The organs of the respiratory system move air into and out of the body.

You can also watch a detailed animation of the respiratory system at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hc1YtXc_84A.

  • The pharynx is a long tube that is shared with the digestive system. Both food and air travel through the pharynx. 
  • The larynx, or voice box, contains vocal cords, which allow us to produce vocal sounds. Air passes through thin tissues in the larynx, producing sound.
  • The trachea, or wind pipe, is a long tube that leads down to the chest.
  • The trachea divides as it enters the lungs to form the right and left bronchi, which branch into smaller bronchioles within each lung. The bronchioles lead to alveoli, the sites of gas exchange.

Summary

  • The organs of the respiratory system include the lungs, pharynx, larynx, trachea, and bronchi.

Explore More

Use this resource to answer the questions that follow.

  1. Distinguish between the upper and lower respiratory tracts.
  2. Describe the following parts of the respiratory system.
    1. the nasal cavity
    2. the pharynx and larynx
    3. the trachea
    4. the bronchi
    5. the diaphragm

Review

  1. Describe the main organs of the respiratory system.

Notes/Highlights Having trouble? Report an issue.

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Vocabulary

bronchi

(singular, bronchus): A passage of airway in the respiratory tract that conducts air into the lungs; branches into smaller tubes, which become bronchioles.

larynx

Organ of the respiratory system between the pharynx and trachea; also called the voice box because it allows the production of vocal sounds.

nasal cavity

A large air filled space above and behind the nose in the middle of the face.

pharynx

Long, tubular organ that connects the mouth and nasal cavity with the larynx through which air and food pass.

respiratory tract

The part of the anatomy involved with the process of respiration.

trachea

Long, tubular organ of the respiratory system, also called the wind pipe, that carries air between the larynx and lungs.

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Difficulty Level:
At Grade
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Date Created:
Feb 24, 2012
Last Modified:
Aug 03, 2016
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