World’s First Fully Warm-Blooded Fish Discovered
According to MSN, the world’s first fully warm-blooded fish was recently discovered off the West Coast of North America, known as the Opah. Science published a paper written by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in which they describe this deep water predatory fish’s breathing mechanism. The NOAA says that the fish has blood vessels in its gills that lets warm blood to circulate throughout its entire body. For this reason, the fish isn’t sluggish or slow-moving. It also has a big heart, plenty of muscle mass, and large eyes.
Since the Opah is warm-blooded, it has a competitive advantage. While other fish that are partly warm-blooded, like tuna, need to make frequent trips back to the top of the water to get air, the Opah doesn’t. Instead, it can stay in deep water all the time without losing its edge. This means that its prey has a competitive disadvantage.
Currently, scientists only recognize one species of Opah; the Lampris guttatus. Scientists believe several different species exist around the world with various genetic differences. Scientists also want to learn why these special gills evolved and if other deep-water species exist with similar adaptations.