The arytenoid cartilages are a pair of cartilages that sit laterally on either side of the glottis, just behind the epiglottis (caudal to). They sit directly in front of the vocal chords (cranially) and help close off the passage into the trachea by squeezing in together on the glottis during swallowing, at the same time the epiglottis folds up to cover the glottis.