Do you know puffer fish? Did you know: this underwater creature can blow itself up into a ball? It turns out that he does not need a working stomach at all.
For us and for many other animals, a malfunctioning stomach would be a huge problem. We need that stomach to process the food we eat. But blowfish solves this differently.
The fish has a body part, but now it can no longer produce stomach acid. As a result, the stomach of the puffer fish lost its original function, but was replaced by a new one. When a fish is startled, its stomach fills with a spray of water, causing it to inflate into a sort of spiky bowling ball, about three times its original size.
But rinsing with salt water does not mix well with stomach acids. Researchers have researched the biology of these and other inflatable fish to find out how to solve this problem. Most can still use their stomachs just fine, except maybe after a moment of bloating. Blowfish doesn’t, it just dissolves that into the rest of the digestive system and works just fine without the stomach function.
Why is the puffer fish the only one that has undergone this change? Perhaps, the researchers speculate, it may have startled the fish a little more than other species, and simply made it easy to use that stomach just for it.
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