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Lack of Oxygen, How Do Blind Cavefish Survive? page all

KOMPAS.com- Fish Cavefish have been inhabitant of dark caves for thousands of years. During that time, fish This blind person develops the ability to adapt to living in a minimal environment oxygen.

The forms of adaptation they do include removing the eyes, and having a pale body color.

But it turns out that this is not the only form of adaptation that is being carried out cavefish. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati say the fish also have an extraordinary physiology that helps them cope with low-oxygen environments.

These results were revealed after researchers conducted a study on cavefish Mexico in three Mexican cave populations namely Chica, Tinaja, and Pachon.

quote PhysSaturday (12/3/2022) in his study, researchers observed Mexican cavefish moving around all the time while they had little access to nutrients.

“They use up energy but where does it come from,” said Tyler Boggs, lead author of the study.

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Puzzle way Cavefish The survival was answered after researchers took blood samples of cavefish fish.

As a result, researchers found the Mexican cavefish (Astyanax mexicanus) produce more hemoglobin through much larger red blood cells compared to surface-dwelling fish.

Hemoglobin itself helps the body carry oxygen and carbon dioxide between cells, fish organs, and their gills.

Researchers assume that in order to produce more hemoglobin, fish must have a higher hematocrit. Hematocrit is a clinical measure of the relative contribution of red blood cells to whole blood.

The red blood cells of cavefish fish are also known to be larger than those of fish that live on the surface.

“That size difference largely explains the difference in hematocrit. We also know very little about the mechanism of cell size in evolution, so this finding is something we can use to gain insight into how animals evolved to increase hemoglobin,” said Joshua Gross, associate professor at the University of Cincinnati, explains how the blind cavefish survive.

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Gross also explained that the increase in hemoglobin allows cavefish to forage longer in low oxygen environments. Cavefish indeed have to work harder to find the limited food in the cave.

This finding also shows how much can still be learned about this cavefish.

Cavefish evolve in caves around the world. But the Mexican cavefish diverged about 20,000 years ago from surface fish that are still found in a nearby river in Mexico’s Sierra de El Abra.

The cavefish are pale pink in color and almost translucent compared to their surface-dwelling counterparts.

Mexican cavefish also have the thinnest line of vestigial eye sockets which gives them an expression of constant surprise.

Despite many obvious physical differences, the two fish are considered members of the same species.

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“That makes them a good model system for biologists to study evolutionary and genetic adaptation,” Gross added.

The research team has been studying this Mexican cavefish for years. They also discovered that the fish’s skull was asymmetrical which could navigate them without the sense of sight.

In addition, the team identified the gene that is responsible for making the fish pale in color. It’s the same gene that makes red hair color in humans.

Scientists are interested in conducting studies related to how fish take oxygen from the water. One of the reasons is because the marine system is experiencing more ecological disasters due to climate change and human development and ultimately causes many creatures in the ocean to be killed.

Cavefish blind survival study has been published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

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