6 Aquatic Animals You didn’t know Breathed Air

When people hear the word fish or marine animal, they automatically think underwater and gills. The thought of a fish breathing air probably never crosses their minds. Well, that is until now.  Here are six aquatic animals that can use oxygen from the atmosphere.

1. Airbreathing Catfish (Clarias batrachus)

© Takeaway / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Airbreathing Catfish is an Asian species that live in freshwater pools. These pools contain low levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide and often dry up; which require the animal to breathe atmospheric air. The obligate air -breather surfaces at irregular intervals to do so.


2. The Electric Eel (Electrophorus electricus)

© Steve G. Johnson / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Electric Eels are also obligate air – breathers that conduct gas exchange in their mouths. That is one of the reasons they open and close their mouths so frequently. It is not a sign of aggressive behavior but rather a sign of a healthy respiratory system.


3. Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta splendens)

© Daniella Vereeken / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-2.0

More commonly known as Betta fish, these animals are a part of a suborder called Labyrinth fish. All Labyrinth fish have a labyrinth organ that allows them to breathe atmospheric air. 


4. Australian Lungfish (Neoceratodus forster)

© Vassil / Wikimedia Commons / CC0 1.0

The Australian Lungfish is the most primitive of the lungfish family. These animals breathe air using lungs. They can have either one or two lungs and can weigh up to 22 lbs. There are six known species that belong to the lungfish family.


5. Shuttles Mudskippers (Periophthalmus modestus)

© Thomas Brown / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-2.0

Mudskippers are amphibious fish that can be found in the mud of river and mangroves. They use their skin to absorb oxygen from the air. Sacs underneath their skin transfer the oxygen to their blood.


6. Atlantic Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus)

© Albert Kok / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Atlantic Tarpon’s swim bladder has lung-like tissue which allows the animal to use oxygen from the atmosphere to breathe. It receives oxygen via it esophagus that is directly connected to the swim bladder.




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