The sea has long been a source of mystery and fascination for humans. And while many myths have been debunked, there are still some things about the ocean that we don’t fully understand.
In this post, we tackle one of these enduring questions: Do fish have blood?
There is much evidence that fish have blood. In fact, in some types of fish such as sharks and tuna-the blood is red, just like ours.
It’s also filled with hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen. So, yes, fish have blood. But this doesn’t mean that you should go out and start fishing for lunch.
First of all, not all fish have red blood. For example, rainbow trout (pictured above) have clear blood-and they’re farmed in large numbers to be eaten by humans every day.
Do Fish Really Have Blood?
While the existence of red blood in fish doesn’t preclude the possibility, it’s still unclear exactly what functions blood serves in fish.
Some researchers think that it helps keep fish warm, comparing the color of red blood to an animal’s color as a sign of its temperature.
However, just because they have red blood, doesn’t mean they have hearts or brains. Sharks have a heart. So do tuna, salmon, and cod.
But other types of fish including eels and catfish-don’t have hearts at all.
So while blood may help with these animals’ temperature control, it’s not the only factor at play here.
That said, many experts still think that blood may play a role in this process. Perhaps blood helps warm certain key organs, such as the brain.
In addition to helping with temperature regulation, blood could also help fish avoid infection from dangerous bacteria.
Red blood cells are similar in shape to the spikes on bacteria such as E. coli. If a fish’s blood was clear like a trout’s, it would be easier for these bacteria to invade the fish through its tissues and organs.
The red color of some types of fish may protect them from infection.
How Much Blood Does A Fish Have?
As it turns out, it depends on the species. Some fish have much greater quantities of blood, while others have very little.
The great white shark (pictured above) is an incredible catch, with a red-lipped, five-foot-wide body that weighs more than 1,000 pounds.
In comparison, the little minnow-a small fish that’s about 0.2 inches long only has a very small amount of blood.
But even within the same species, the quantity of blood can vary widely. For example, a three-pound salmon only has a tenth of the blood in its body as a three-pound cod.
This is why fish are such good choices for fish oil-the oil is extracted from the fish’s livers and filtered to remove impurities like salt.
To make up for their small amount of blood, these types of fish have higher concentrations of other fluids in their bodies-like serum and plasma.
These fluids are rich in omega-3 fatty acids like docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which can be converted into the neuroprotective DHA we need for our brains.
Fish also have a very extensive circulatory system. This is one of their most impressive features.
They have a heart and a set of arteries that run through their bodies, delivering all the nutrients they need and removing waste products, heat, and other liquids.
Why Do Fish Have Blood?
You might think that the reason blood is found in fish is that it’s the most efficient way to transport nutrients and oxygen.
However, this isn’t the case. The circulatory system in fish is much more complex than in other types of animals.
For example, mammals have a heart and a single set of arteries that run straight through their bodies.
This means any blood delivered to regions far from their heart flows through these arteries before being distributed throughout the rest of their body.
In fish, however, the heart has multiple chambers and is segmented into four compartments. Each of these compartments works as a pump, which enables blood to be pumped through the gills or loop around the body.
This setup means that fluids can be brought closer to tissue and organs-thereby allowing them to stay warm and helping them regulate their temperature.
It also means that waste products can be removed more quickly from the rest of the body.
Are There Any Fish Without Blood?
There are, you just have to look a little harder for them. For example, some types of fish don’t have red blood, but they do have blood that’s light purple or clear and colorless.
Some types of fish also don’t have brains, which makes it even more difficult to determine whether they have blood.
It’s important to realize that there are some fish without blood. For example, lampreys are a type of fish that have replaced their blood with a fluid called lymph.
This fluid isn’t red like blood, and it doesn’t carry oxygen. Instead, it takes other nutrients to the lamprey’s organs and tissues while removing waste products.
There are also types of fish that don’t even have blood. The lancelet, a marine flatworm, doesn’t have a blood system at all.
And there are even fish species that don’t have hearts at all. They use their gills as pumps to circulate fluids around their bodies.
There are even types of fish without gills that lack internal organs. The bony fish have no internal organs and are instead nourished by the blood-rich tissues of other fish that they eat.
How Does Blood Flow In Fish?
There are two types of fish blood: lymph and hemolymph. The former is essentially a fluid that delivers nutrients to organs, increases fluid pressure in the body, and regulates the temperature of the body.
The latter is a liquid that contains glucose and oxygen. It also contains cells called granulocytes, leukocytes, and erythrocytes (red blood cells).
The lymphatic system in fish vascularizes their skin and gills, which results in higher blood volume.
The hemolymph-which is rich in protein and contains lymphocytes, leukocytes, and erythrocytes-is stored in the blood vessels.
The hemolymph also serves as a transport vehicle for substances such as glucose, oxygen, and antibodies.
So, do fish have blood? Yes, many certainly do but there are some that do not have blood too.
Fish are an amazing group of animals, and we’re only just beginning to understand the ways they help keep our planet healthy.
While blood is found in most fish, it’s important to remember that some species don’t have blood at all. It’s also important to note that not all fish have red blood.
Some have clear or light purple blood. Many species of fish aren’t even mammals, although they do share some similar features-for example, fish can produce eggs and can breathe air through their gills.
This is why they can be found on land, under the water, and in the air.
Hi, I’m George – the founder of MarinePatch. I created this blog as marine wildlife has been my passion for many years. I’ve spent over a decade in the marine wildlife industry and spent years out in the field conducting research. In today’s modern world, an online blog is the best place for me to share my findings and reach as many people as possible to help educate and inspire others. Enjoy your time here and you’re welcome back anytime!