• Add to new collection
    Rights: The University of Waikato
    Published 3 December 2007 Referencing Hub media

    Andrew Stewart is discussing the adaptations of the Antarctic silverfish.

    Points of interest for teachers:

    • Students may want to discuss why the icefish does not have red blood.
    • Why is more oxygen dissolved in the Antarctic waters?
    • Consider the range of adaptations that icefish have developed.


    These particular fishes are found no where else in the planet except in Antarctic waters. They’re completely unique to Antarctica, they’re known as ice fishes. Now one of the really amazing things about them is they have no blood at all in them – they have no red blood cells. As you can see the gills are white and when you open them up the stomach is white, the liver is white, everything is white, there is nothing red or pigmented. There is no haemoglobin at all and that’s because the Antarctic waters are so cold that sufficient oxygen can be dissolved in it that they don’t need a carrier to carry oxygen around their body. There are a number of other characters too, such as they have a much larger heart and they can also absorb some oxygen across their skin. So this makes them a particularly interesting and unique group of fishes found nowhere else in the world.