accessory respiratory organ

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A system of air chambers formed by outgrowths from the mouth or gill region of those fish that occasionally leave the water. The uptake of oxygen from the air is facilitated by a dense network of tiny blood vessels in the skin lining these air chambers, and their possession enables such fish as labyrinth fish (Anabantidae), snakeheads (Channidae), or air-breathing catfish (Clariidae) to survive outside water for some considerable time. The swim-bladder also may serve as an accessory respiratory organ.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.

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