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James River Water Levels

Westham Gauge
Gauge Height: 3.40'
Flow: 908 cfps

Trail Conditions: Richmond

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Todays Tides: Richmond Locks

High Tide: 8:06pm
Low Tide: 2:30pm

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Scientists Discover First-Ever Warm-Blooded Fish

A new study by scientists at NOAA Fisheries has revealed the world’s first fully warm-blooded fish, but it is not a newly discovered species. In fact, the fish is one that is already well-known to anglers—the opah, or moonfish as it is commonly called.

The opah is now believed to be the only known warm-blooded fish.

The opah is now believed to be the only known warm-blooded fish.

In a press release on Tuesday, NOAA Fisheries confirmed that the opah circulates heated blood throughout its body much like birds or mammals, albeit at a much lower temperature.

“Fish that typically inhabit such cold depths tend to be slow and sluggish, conserving energy by ambushing prey instead of chasing it,” NOAA stated. “But the opah’s constant flapping of its fins heats its body, speeding its metabolism, movement and reaction times, scientists report today in the journal Science.”

According to researchers, warm blood gives the fish a distinctive advantage in cold waters, making the opah a “high-performance predator” with faster reaction time, better vision, and increased speed. Compared to other fish in a cold environment, the opah is a supercharged speedster.

“Before this discovery I was under the impression this was a slow-moving fish, like most other fish in cold environments,” said the study’s lead author, Nicholas Wegner. “But because it can warm its body, it turns out to be a very active predator that chases down agile prey like squid and can migrate long distances.”


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