Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Planet Earth

All puffed out: do pufferfish hold their breath while inflated?

Seriously, Science?By Seriously ScienceJanuary 7, 2015 5:00 PM
The_Puffer_Fish-300x240.jpg

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Today we get to discuss.... pufferfish! When they're startled, these cute little buddies can inflate their stomachs with water to an extent that even Takeru Kobayashi would envy. To achieve this feat, pufferfish "inhale" the water through their gills. And up to now, it's been assumed that while inflated, pufferfish then "hold their breath" (meaning stop using their gills) and instead absorb oxygen through their skin. However, these scientists have collected data showing that at least one species of pufferfish is actually incapable of breathing through its skin--nevertheless, it absorbs a large amount of oxygen while inflated, suggesting its gills are still functioning. Eat your heart out, Kobayashi!

All puffed out: do pufferfish hold their breath while inflated? "The inflation response of pufferfishes is one of the most iconic predator defence strategies in nature. Current dogma suggests that pufferfish inflation represents a breath-holding response,whereby gill oxygen uptake ceases for the duration of inflation and cutaneous respiration increases to compensate. Here, we show that the black-saddled pufferfish (Canthigaster valentini) has an excellent capacity for oxygen uptake while inflated, with uptake rates increasing to five-times that of resting levels. Moreover, we show that this species has negligible capacity for cutaneous respiration, concluding that the gills are the primary site of oxygen uptake while inflated. Despite this, post-deflation recovery of aerobic metabolism took an average of 5.6 h, suggesting a contribution of anaerobic metabolism during pre-inflation activity and during the act of ingesting water to achieve inflation." Related content: NCBI ROFL: A foot needs a nipple like a fish needs a bicycle. NCBI ROFL: Intense dead fish smell proven no excuse for not working. NCBI ROFL: How the hell does one end up as a doggy breath odor judge?

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In