Species of the week #101 – Mud loach
“Stormfarter” is a somewhat disrespectful nickname for the Mud loach, which is also called weatherfish. These names refer to a very special characteristic – accessory intestinal respiration. The mud loach stretches its mouth above the water surface and swallows air. It can absorb oxygen through its intestinal mucosa, which has a strong blood supply. The used air is released through the anus and produces a squeaking sound. Since it can sense the slightest fluctuations in air pressure, it becomes restless when a thunderstorm is approaching and appears whistling and bubbling on the surface of the water. The accessory intestinal respiration enables the mud loachs whiptail to survive prolonged periods of heat or drought unscathed. It buries itself in the mud and stops gill breathing. Thus, this unusual ability is a real survival advantage.