Skip to main content
How Lungfish are Protected from the Sun
Sep 1, 2009

Water means purity, beauty, and life; it would be unrealistic to talk about life if water did not exist. Though it is widely known that water is a colorless and odorless substance with no taste, the existence of water as one of the outward reasons for life is undervalued.

Water has a vital role in maintaining the life of the cell. For example, 70% of the human body consists of water; also, approximately 70% of the earth is formed of water. Chemical reactions happening inside cells take place in liquid environments; in other words, life activities have been made to depend on water.

While water has such a vital importance for creatures, is there any living being that can live without water? The answer to this question is yes. For example, the African Lungfish (Protopterus), which is created with this special quality, can live without water for four years in hard times.

It is well-known that bears go into hibernation as a result of a God-given instinct during the winter cold. Storing necessary energy as fat in their bodies in order not to freeze, decreasing their body metabolism to the minimum rate, and being guided to choose a place to be protected from the cold during winter hibernation are important features bestowed on these living beings.

Another special features bestowed on some animals is the capacity for summer hibernation. This sleep is a marvelous quality that enables some animals to be able to live in hot and dry climates. Summer hibernation is the process of spending very hot summer days between sleep and lethargy in order to handle hard circumstances. A kind of silence is felt in the whole of nature during the extremely hot months of summer. This silence is caused by animals being in their summer sleep. Lungfish is one of those animals. There are various types of lungfish around the world: Queensland Lungfish (Neoceratodus forsteri), which is as long as 6 feet and which lives in the Burnett and Mary rivers in Australia; African Lungfish living Central Africa; 6 feet long Protopterus aethiopicus; 4 feet long P.dolloi; P. amphibious, which is written to be longer than 13 feet in some records; and Lepidosiren paradoxa living in South America.

Quite a lot is known about the summer sleep of the lungfish in Africa (Dipnoi). When the river water which flows from the treasures of God’s mercy is withdrawn during the summer months, the lungfish, which sink into wet clay by God-given instict, wait for a drawn back of water in a state of lethargy with having very low metabolisms. The fishes open a hole for themselves on the mud (down rivers and lakes) when rivers and lakes start to dry. When the mud goes into a drying process, specially featured mucous membrane that are put onto fishes’ skins start to work fast and fishes’ bodies are covered by a secreted mucus-like adhesive substance like a water-resistant cocoon. Fishes can stay alive by sleeping about 7-8 months during deadly summer hots with the amount of accumulated water inside cocoons. Although many fishes obtain the necessary oxygen through their gills, lungfish are created with an interesting special feature. The thin membrane bladders (gas bladders) that are responsible for regulating water level in other fishes are organized into a kind of breathing organ in the lungfishes by equipping with large amount of blood vessels in order to perform like lungs. God the Almighty can make different organs (analog organ) perform similar tasks as He does make similar organs (homolog organ) perform different tasks. None of these organs, which are created as the manifestation of God’s eternal knowledge and omnipotence, are characterized as being developed by their own through coincidental mutations. In contrast, every organ is created in the most appropriate character and capability to ensure maintenance of animals’ lives in the best way. Otherwise, we had to imagine those fishes that could know dry season with every aspects and that have the capacity and knowledge to change their organs as they want.

How do the fishes living in a water-resistant and durable cocoon obtain the necessary oxygen for themselves? The hole kept inside mud is used to get oxygen when oxygen inside cocoon reduced. The cocoon’s membrane made from mucus protects the little amount of water around the fish in mud but does not block the oxygen transition. While the dried mud works like a turbot against sun lights, the hole on the wall is kept. The lungfishes shrink around 1 inch during the summer sleep, since they use (burn) some of their fat and muscle tissue. When rains start and water fills lakes and rivers, the mud turbot that keeps lungfish dissolves; and the lungfish starts to continue its normal life in water.