WTF Fun Fact 13156 – Fish Cough

Fish can cough. But they don’t sneeze. Pretty riveting stuff, right?

Well, it turns out it is pretty interesting.

How do fish cough?

While a fish can cough, it doesn’t make a sound when it does. As the experts at Fluffy Planet explain:

“Every now and then, a fish uses its gills to extract a little amount of oxygen you find in the water. Then, it releases gases like carbon dioxide. During this process, it is possible for particles or bacteria to get sucked in through the gills. Similar to how bacteria and particles are sucked into our mouth while we are breathing.

To clear the bacteria and particles, our body will either instinctively cough, or you could be prompted to cough on your own to clear out these particles. So, when these particles go into a fish’s gills, their ventilation cycle is interrupted with a cough.”

The coughs happen when the fish’s ventilation cycle is interrupted as they need to clear out their gills.

But while fish can cough, they can’t sneeze. And they don’t cry. It’s simply not biologically possible.

Why can’t fish sneeze?

We use our throats to cough, and it’s an action that clears us out. But sneezing requires air to be expelled involuntarily in response to an irritant. Sneezes expel air from the lungs at great speed. And since fish live underwater, they don’t breathe air (and don’t have a version of lungs like ours). If they did, they would float when their lungs will with air.

Now, you probably know fish don’t cry (they can’t really produce tears underwater), but you might find an article from the New York Times interesting. It explains that researchers think fish can get depressed. When they do, they exhibit similar behavior to humans, such as isolating themselves.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Do fish cough, sneeze, or cry?” — Fluffy Planet

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