DEC 08, 2019 8:04 AM PST

What's Inside a Pufferfish May Surprise You

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Pufferfish are among one of the most easily discernible fish in the ocean, especially when inflated. But do you know how these little fish are able to expand more than three times their size in a matter of moments?

When a pufferfish expands, it’s not absorbing air like a balloon; instead, it’s pumping excessive amounts of water from its surroundings into its stomach. The fish’s stomach contains accordion-like folds that facilitate this expansion, and special muscles in its mouth and esophagus make pumping that water in and sealing it off possible. When the pufferfish is ready to deflate, special muscles in its underside push all the water back out.

Another exciting fact about pufferfish is that they lack any rib bones. Given just how much these fish expand, such bones would only get in the way. This makes pufferfish incredibly light and flexible when compared with other fish of similar sizes.

Scientists also think that pufferfish may have lost their ability to digest food with their stomachs due to evolving them to absorb water. That said, pufferfish may rely solely on their intestines to do all their digesting for them, as the stomach isn’t able to begin the digestion process.

Indeed, pufferfish are incredible animals, and scientists are always attempting to learn more about them.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JAN 27, 2020
Microbiology
JAN 27, 2020
The Unusual Microbiome of Bats
Even closely related bats may not have similar gut microbes, and these unusual mammals may not have the same relationship with their microbiome as other animals....
JAN 27, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 27, 2020
Polar Bear Fights Are Sometimes for Fun, Other Times to the Death
Polar bears have a reputation as being one of the top predators in the Arctic, and with that in mind, it should come as no surprise to anyone that males ca...
JAN 27, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 27, 2020
Scientists Get a Closer Look at "The Plastisphere"
Plastic litter is a global problem, and some of the tiniest culprits are not visible to the naked eye. These microplastics have infiltrated the world's...
JAN 27, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 27, 2020
Oilseed rape crops thrive under climate change
Research published recently in Current Biology points towards at least one upside of climate change: some agricultural crops will have longer growing seaso...
JAN 27, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
JAN 27, 2020
Kiss and tell: new test for kissing bug disease
Here’s one Latin lover that you do not want to get kissed by: triatomines, or “kissing bugs”. Known locally as pitos or chipos, these ins...
JAN 27, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 27, 2020
This is Why You Shouldn't Mess With Beached Whales
When large whales die, one of two things can happen: 1) their bodies can sink to the bottom of the ocean and go on to support smaller life forms; or 2) the...
Loading Comments...