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Science News

Scientists find hibernating fish in Antarctic

An Antarctic cod Notothenia coriiceps fish in an undated photo. Scientists have found an Antarctic fish that hibernates to conserve energy during the long southern winters. REUTERS/British Antarctic Story/Handout

LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists have found an Antarctic fish that hibernates to conserve energy during the long southern winters.

The cod Notothenia coriiceps enters a dormant state, similar to hibernation in land animals like hedgehogs, British scientists said on Wednesday.

Researchers already knew Antarctic fish had antifreeze chemicals in their blood and their ability to effectively put themselves “on ice” is another remarkable adaptation to an extreme environment.

“It appears they utilise the short Antarctic summers to gain sufficient energy from feeding to tide them over in winter. The hibernation-like state they enter in winter is presumably a mechanism for reducing their energy requirements to the bare minimum,” said Keiron Fraser of the British Antarctic Survey.

Fraser and colleagues published their findings in the Public Library of Science’s online journal PLoS ONE.

Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Matthew Jones

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