This animal can survive without oxygen, scientists confirm

Henneguya salminicola is a common parasite that is known to cause milky flesh or tapioca disease in salmons

animal surviving without oxygen

A team of researchers from Israel has said that they have discovered the world's first animal that does not need oxygen to survive. The study carried out by researchers at Tel Aviv University claimed that a tiny parasite related to jellyfish that lives inside salmon does not have sufficient anatomical systems to process oxygen in their bodies.

More details about this multicellular organism

The study report published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggested that the parasite named henneguya salminicola does not require aerobic respiration to survive, and experts believe that the new finding could revolutionize human understanding about the way in which living beings live on the earth, and beyond.

Henneguya salminicola does not have mitochondrial DNA, and this is for the first time that scientists are discovering such an animal that lacks the DNA which contains the genes responsible for respiration.

"Aerobic respiration was thought to be ubiquitous in animals, but now we confirmed that this is not the case. Our discovery shows that evolution can go in strange directions. Aerobic respiration is a major source of energy, and yet we found an animal that gave up this critical pathway," said Dorothee Huchon, a professor at Tel Aviv University and the lead author of the study, the Times of Israel reports.

.How does this microscopic animal generate energy?

Huchon revealed that the research team is not fully clear on how the microscopic animal generates energy for its activities. He speculated that henneguya salminicola might be extracting energy from surrounding fish cells.

"It's not yet clear to us how the parasite generates energy. It may be drawing it from the surrounding fish cells, or it may have a different type of respiration such as oxygen-free breathing, which typically characterizes anaerobic non-animal organisms," added Huchon.

A study conducted in 2010 had suggested that another microscopic living being, a species of loriciferans can also survive without oxygen. However, this finding has not been confirmed yet, the BBC reports.