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Study Reveals Ability of Fish to Climb up Waterfall

Jan 06, 2013 03:53 AM EST
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A recent finding made on the plant-eating goby fish suggests that it uses the same muscle to eat and climb up against the water flow.

For the study, scientists focused on the Nopili climbing goby (Sicyopterus Stimpsoni) that is found in plenty in Hawaii. It was noticed that it managed to push itself up to 100 meters against the water flow with the help of two suckers, in which one is the oral sucker that is used when feeding on algae.

"For a human to go the equivalent distance based on body size, it'd be like doing a marathon, some 26 miles (42 kilometers) long, except climbing up a vertical cliff-face against rushing water," researcher Richard Blob, an evolutionary biomechanist at Clemson University in South Carolina, told LiveScience

According to Blob, the new finding helps in understanding how this unique lifestyle evolved.

The goby uses the tip of its upper jaw to get food from the rock surface, and this is not the same with the Hawaiian gobies, because they suck food from water. They noticed the same characteristics in both species.

In order to prove their finding, they observed the movement of the jaw muscles of the Nopili rock climbing gobies when the fishes climbed or ate. They noticed that the movements were same in both the activities.

However, it remains unclear whether it was the feeding movements that the gobys used for the purpose of climbing or vice versa.

As stated by Blob in LiveScience, a closer analysis has to be done on the species in order to gain clear information about the evolution of this unique behavior.

The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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