Saturday, March 26, 2016

Walking CaveFish

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Cryptotora Thamicola is a newly discovered fish that can walk and climb waterfalls with a similar gait as a salamander.

Other fishes, that are seemingly able to walk on dry land, do it by pushing the tail and back end of its body forward, such as mudskippers and walking catfish. Fishes that can climb vertically, like the Hawaiian waterfall climbing gobies, use rapid wave-like movement while others use oral and pelvic suction. Cryptotora Thamicola is the only kind of "walking fish" that uses all four fins in a diagonal-sequence gait.

The diagonal-couplet lateral sequence gait was accomplished by rotation of the pectoral and pelvic girdles creating a standing wave of the axial body. These findings are significant because they represent the first example of behavioural and morphological adaptation in an extant fish that converges on the tetrapodal walking behaviour and morphology.

Native to Thailand, Cryptotora is more commonly found in caves with rapid-flowing waters rather than ponds, lakes or any bodies of water that are relatively stationary.

Image Source: Tetrapod-like pelvic girdle in a walking cavefish -

Source: Flammang, B. E. et al. Tetrapod-like pelvic girdle in a walking cavefish. Sci. Rep. 6, 23711; doi: 10.1038/srep23711 (2016).

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