Oct 22, 2008

Clever Little Icefish

Anarctic icefish are the subject of study in the war against a host of bone diseases. It turns out that these fish, who live their entire lives in southern waters whose surface doesn't go above freezing, have some interesting traits. They have no red blood cells--a liability in freezing temps. And, they've largely shed their skeletal system. Their native frigid waters are energy poor, and since bone is dense, not having much in the way of bone allows them to use less energy to maintain their bouyancy. Clever little icefish.

Photo source: The Antarctic Sun

So, why do humans care? Because if we can pinpoint exactly how and where the icefish developed this lack of mineralizing of their skeletons, we'll be better able to understand our own mineral deficiencies, as seen in diseases such as osteopenia and osteoporosis. And knowledge is half the battle. Give up your secrets, ice fish. Clever or not, we'll make you talk.


Anonymous said...

He looks grumpy, but not particularly ugly.

Anonymous said...

Geez, what a spineless fish!
And he looks a bit like a baracuda.

Anonymous said...

dun da da dun da da dun BARRACUUuuuUUUDA! (with apologies to HEART)

Anonymous said...

Look Ma! No bones!