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Warming of the Body

Warming of the Body

(p.101) Chapter 5 Warming of the Body
The Biology of Sharks and Rays
A. Peter Klimley
University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses the physiological processes and anatomical adaptations that enable some sharks and rays to elevate the temperature of key body parts over the ambient temperature of the ocean. The members of two families of sharks, the Lamnidae and Alopiidae, and one family of rays, the Mobulidae, have evolved anatomical and physiological adaptations that enable them to maintain parts of their body warmer than the external environment. These species possess a rete mirabile that provides a barrier against the loss of metabolic heat. This internal network of closely associated arteries and veins is a countercurrent heat exchanger because the metabolic heat diffuses through the thin walls of veins carrying blood to the exterior surface of the fish and again through the thin walls of the arteries to warm the cool blood flowing toward the interior muscles of the fish.

Keywords:   sharks, rays, body temperature, cartilaginous fishes, rete mirabile, metabolic heat

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