This odd deep-sea fish can hold its breath for four minutes
Coffinfish use their enormous inflatable gills to fill their body with seawater—the first such discovery ever made in a fish.
With a name like coffinfish, it’s no surprise these odd-looking creatures have evolved to thrive in the dark ocean bottom.
Scientists already knew that the deep-sea dwellers—sometimes called sea toads—have special fins for “walking” on the seafloor. But now, a new study has revealed another coffinfish adaptation—massive, inflatable gill chambers that expand the animal’s body with seawater, allowing them to take up more oxygen and hold their breath for up to four minutes.
This behavior—the first ever discovered in a fish—could be a way to save energy in a food-scarce environment. (Read how walking fish made the leap from water to land.)
“It’s cool—it’s like a different method of inflation that no other fish uses,” says study co-author Stacy Farina,