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The moonfish, which are about the size of a manhole cover, is now considered the first-known warm-blooded fish, scientists report in the journal Science. Through some physiological tricks, the fish is able to keep its entire body — heart, brain, swimming muscles and viscera — warmer than the surrounding water. Here are photos of the distinguished fish, which is also called an opah.
Much of the body heat produced by the opah seems to come from their dark-red aerobic pectoral muscles used during swimming, the researchers found. Unlike many other fish that undulate their bodies to move forward, the opah flaps its winglike pectoral fins to swim. This heat-generating pectoral muscle is insulated from the chilly water with a layer of fat.