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Puffed-up blowfish does not hold its breath

Puffed-up blowfish does not hold its breath

LONDON: The new study finds that pufferfish can’t hold its breath. Actually Pufferfish can balloon into a spikey scope within seconds of sensing a nearby threat, and though it may look like these creatures hold their breath as they inflate they can actually breathe as they puff up. But this trick may tire pufferfish out and put them at risk of being eaten once they’ve deflated.
Pufferfish, also known as blowfish, can quickly expand by gulping water into their elastic stomachs. In the movie “Finding Nemo,” the pufferfish Bloat inflates in an instant and awkwardly floats away like a beach ball, but it turns out that the fishes’ puff has nothing to do with holding in air, the researchers found
We were intrigued by previous studies that suggested the pufferfishes hold their breath while inflated, presumably to keep the ingested water in the stomach,” said Georgia McGee, who did the research as a marine biology undergraduate at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia. “If this was true, we thought it likely that pufferfish inflation would have a limited duration, due to a lack of oxygen getting to vital body organs.
The scientists caught eight black-saddled pufferfish in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and placed them in sealed tanks. The researchers stimulated the fish by gently suctioning, which caused them to puff up to about four times their normal size. Then, they measured the amount of oxygen in the tank, to check the rate of oxygen consumption — a gauge of whether the fish were holding their breath.
Pufferfish, the researchers learned, can breathe just fine while inflated. “This species actually has an excellent capacity for oxygen uptake while maintaining an inflated state,” McGee told Live Science in an email.
Moreover, the fish breathe with their gills when puffed up, which means they can breathe as they always do, even when they inflate to the size of a football.