Desert Fish Can Go Without Oxygen for 5 Hours

Recent studies have shown that in response to the rapid desertification that occurred in the fish’s native habitat of Death Valley over the past ten years, the desert pupfish has evolved the ability to respire anaerobically by producing and breaking down ethanol. They alternate between aerobic and anaerobic respiration to mitigate the buildup of harmful chemicals that occur as a side effect of aerobic respiration in very warm environments, like the desert climate they live in. Of course, this reliance on anaerobic respiration is harmful to the fish, and as a result they don’t have particularly long lifespans.

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