swim bladder

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swim bladder (air bladder; gas bladder) An air-filled sac lying above the alimentary canal in bony fish that regulates the buoyancy of the animal. Air enters or leaves the bladder either via a pneumatic duct opening into the oesophagus or stomach or via capillary blood vessels, so that the specific gravity of the fish always matches the depth at which it is swimming. This makes the fish weightless, so less energy is required for locomotion. In lungfish it also has a respiratory function. The lungs of tetrapods are homologous with the swim bladder, which has developed its hydrostatic function by specialization.

swim bladder

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swim blad·der • n. Zool. a gas-filled sac present in the body of many bony fishes, used to maintain and control buoyancy.