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All puffed out: do pufferfish hold their breath while inflated?


McGee, GE and Clark, TD, All puffed out: do pufferfish hold their breath while inflated?, Biology Letters, 10, (12) Article 20140823. ISSN 1744-9561 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society.

DOI: doi:10.1098/rsbl.2014.0823


© 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.The inflation response of pufferfishes is one of the most iconic predator defence strategies in nature. Current dogma suggests that pufferfish inflation represents a breath-holding response, whereby gill oxygen uptake ceases for the duration of inflation and cutaneous respiration increases to compensate. Here, we show that the black-saddled pufferfish (Canthigaster valentini) has an excellent capacity for oxygen uptake while inflated, with uptake rates increasing to five-times that of resting levels. Moreover, we show that this species has negligible capacity for cutaneous respiration, concluding that the gills are the primary site of oxygen uptake while inflated. Despite this, postdeflation recovery of aerobic metabolism took an average of 5.6 h, suggesting a contribution of anaerobic metabolism during pre-inflation activity and during the act of ingesting water to achieve inflation.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:inflation, metabolic rate, oxygen uptake, predator defense, pufferfish, cutaneous
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal behaviour
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Coastal or estuarine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Clark, TD (Dr Timothy Clark)
ID Code:103271
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2015-09-30
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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