How do fish survive in icy waters?

(ORDO NEWS) — Explaining on the example of notothenioid-like fish living in the Antarctic waters.

The waters surrounding Antarctica are so cold that fish from temperate and tropical regions would quickly die if caught in them. However, representatives of the suborder notothenioid fishes produce natural antifreeze that allows them to live in water with low temperatures.

This suborder consists of over 120 fish species, most of which are found only in Antarctic waters. The overwhelming majority of species live in seawater with temperatures ranging from -1.9 ° C to 4 ° C (the freezing point of seawater is -2 ° C) at a depth of about 1,500 meters. Many notothenioid fishes have proteins in their blood and body fluids that, when combined with tiny ice crystals in the body, prevent them from growing further.

However, some circumpolar species of these fish do not produce or produce very little natural antifreeze. Most marine fish from temperate and tropical regions lack these proteins and would freeze in the cold Antarctic waters. The fact is that the water temperature in Antarctica (-1.9 ° C) is below the freezing point of their blood.


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