Friday, 13 March 2015

Antarctic octopus is a literal ‘blue blood’

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com – @ParkstBrett

The waters around Antarctica maybe a harsh, unforgiving environment – but a number of animal species make it work, and even thrive in this frigid ecosystem.

One of those animals is the Antarctic octopus and according to a new study in the journal Frontiers in Zoology, this cephalopod has a unique kind of “blue blood” that allows it to endure the intense cold of its surroundings.

“This is the first study providing clear evidence that the octopods’ blue blood pigment, haemocyanin, undergoes functional changes to improve the supply of oxygen to tissue at sub-zero temperatures,” said study author Michael Oellermann, a cephalopod expert from the Alfred-Wegener-Institute in Germany. “This is important because it highlights a very different response compared to Antarctic fish to the cold conditions in the Southern Ocean.”


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