At inspiration, air travels through the upper respiratory tract (nares, mouth, glottis) to the lower respiratory tract (the larynx, trachea, bronchi, bronchioles).
The trachea is a large diameter tube located in the throat and thoracic cavity. It has cartilaginous rings in its walls that keep the airway open. The trachea carries air directly into the lungs.
The arrow shows the path of inspired air through the trachea. The esophagus is shown to the left of the trachea (it has been moved from its normal position dorsal to the trachea). It is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach.
Next: The lungs
Back to: Respiratory system overview