Larval amphibians respire, or exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen, through their gills and skin. Most adult amphibians lose their gills during metamorphosis, but they can respire in two ways: through the lungs and through the skin. Respiration through the lungs is called pulmonary respiration. Amphibians ventilate their lungs with a unique mechanism that pumps air into the lungs; this is called positive-pressure breathing. For example, a frog breathes by changing the volume and pressure of air in its mouth while either opening or closing its nostrils, as shown in Figure 40-9. Both inhalation and exhalation involve a two-step process during which the floor of the frog's mouth is raised and lowered. The frog controls the direction of air flow by opening or closing its nostrils. Because amphibians have a small surface area in the lungs for gas exchange, respiration through the skin, or cutaneous respiration, is very important to most aquatic and terrestrial amphibians.
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