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Keywords:

  • body temperature;
  • endothermy;
  • juvenile;
  • Pacific bluefin tuna;
  • whole-body heat transfer coefficient

ABSTRACT

Bluefin tuna maintain a higher body temperature than ambient sea water. Body heat is derived mainly from metabolic heat to elevate and maintain regional body temperature that is higher than the ambient, while heat loss is caused by heat transfer throughout the whole body surface and gills. Retention of high body temperature is thought to differ at each growth stage, so that a larger body mass maintains a higher body temperature. We evaluated the whole-body heat transfer coefficient, thermal difference between each tissue and water temperature, and metabolic heat in tissues during swimming of juvenile bluefin tuna as a function of fork length (FL) using a small thermometer and a treadmill-type flow tank. A system for maintaining high body temperature was well developed in fish with FL greater than 20.0 cm. Whole-body heat transfer coefficient was fitted to a – 0.695 power of mass. Juvenile bluefin tuna showed a transition speed of 3.0 FL/s at which they switched from aerobic to anaerobic motion.