Research

The Hydraulics Behind a Tuna’s Turns

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Tuna are remarkably agile for their size. Many species reach lengths exceeding the height of a human adult, yet they can still make tight turns, especially when hunting. A recent study described one mechanism that aids the fish – a built-in hydraulic system for raising its second dorsal and anal fins. The tuna use fluid from their lymphatic system – which produces and transports white blood cells in both humans and tuna – to pressurize chambers at the base of some fins, causing the fin to rise. The extra support puts the fin in a hydrodynamically advantageous position and helps stabilize the fish when turning quickly, allowing them to change direction without slowing. (Video credit: Science; research credit: V. Pavlov et al.)

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