Deepwater dweller is first known warm-hearted fish | Science News

Love Science? Welcome Home.

Support Amazing Science Journalism.

Create the New Science Generation.


News

Deepwater dweller is first known warm-hearted fish

Unlikely opah can keep much of its body warmer than its cold sea surroundings

By
2:04pm, May 14, 2015
opah

BIG FISH  A fish called an opah, studied here by researchers, is now proposed to be as about as close to a full-body warm-blooded fish as science has yet discovered.

A fish that looks like a giant cookie with skinny red fins comes the closest yet among fishes to the whole-body warm-bloodedness of birds and mammals.

The opah (Lampris guttatus) has structures never before recognized in fish gills that may help conserve the warmth in blood, says Nick Wegner of the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, Calif. The unusual gills and other heat-saving features don’t achieve the high, stable body temperatures that define warm-blooded, or endothermic, mammals and birds. But measurements suggest that the opah can keep its heart and some other important tissues several degrees warmer than the deep, cold water where it swims, Wegner and his colleagues say in the May 15 Science.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News