Desert pupfish hold their breath

Olin Feurbacher, U.S. Geological Survey [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons

Living in the desert might seem like a peculiar strategy for a fish. But 10,000 years ago, the southwestern US was a much wetter place than it is now, covered by water as deep as 100 m that was home to many creatures including pupfish. As the water receded, pupfish became isolated to warm springs, where they remain today. Water temperatures can reach 95 ºC in the springs, exposing the small fish to a large amount of environmental stress. Research by Frank van Breukelen and Stanley Hillyard (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) suggests that pupfish use another peculiar strategy to survive these harsh conditions: they hold their breath.

Lab Anim. (NY) 44, 192 (2015).
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