From: University of Guelph.
Published October 21, 2015 04:18 PM

The fish that cools off by jumping OUT of the water

On hot, humid days, you might jump into water to cool down, but for the tiny mangrove rivulus fish, cooling down means jumping out of water, according to a new study from the University of Guelph.

In the study published today in the journal Biology Letters, the researchers describe how these fish air-chill themselves on solid ground in order to drop their body temperatures. The researchers also found that fish exposed to higher temperatures for a week tolerated warmer water better.

The fish jump out of the water to escape rising temperatures, said integrative biology professor Pat Wright, senior author of the study.

“If the fish are prevented from jumping out of the water, they would die,” she said.

“The water evaporates off the fish and they cool down their body temperatures slightly. It only takes about a couple seconds for the fish to start to cool down.”


A mangrove rivulus fish

The rivulus fish live in waters from Florida to Brazil, where water temperatures can reach 38 C. (Normal human body temperature is 37 C.)

The researchers, led by undergraduate students Dan Gibson and Emma Sylvester, filmed the fish with a camera that measures body temperature. As the water warmed, the fish flung themselves out and onto damp filter paper, where they cooled down almost immediately. They found that after one minute, the body temperatures of the fish actually dropped below that of the filter paper.

“Based on physics, we would expect evaporative cooling to happen, but this is the first time it was directly measured,” said Wright.

Image shows a mangrove rivulus fish, credit University of Guelph.

Read more at University of Guelph.

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