MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: does a mudskipper breathe through its gills and lungs when on land?

Date: Sun Oct 22 08:39:31 2006
Posted By: Keith Jones, Faculty, Pharmacology and Cell Biophysics, University of Cincinnati
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 1160225608.Zo

Mudskippers (Kingdom: Animalia; Phylum: Chordata; Class: Actinopterygii; Order: Perciformes; Family: Gobiidae) do not have lungs. These are the only fish that actually require air to breathe, though they will eventually drown in water. They breathe gaseous air using a mechanism called cutaneous respiration, where the capillary rich lining of the mouth and throat acts as an oxygen absorbing membrane. They will gulp air and hold it in their mouths. They do maintain water in the gill chamber to keep the gills wet and will mix this water to enhance oxygen mixing in that water, but they have to have gaseous air to survive; they are considered amphibious. Mudskippers are most active at l low tide when they use their modified fins to "skip" across the wet sand to feed. At high tide, they stay in their chambers in the mud, where they actually maintain an air bubble!

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