The creature that does not need oxygen to live is discovered


The creature that does not need oxygen to live is discovered
As you read this article you may have done dozens of breaths. Some other animals don't need to breathe as often, and they also don't need the same amount of oxygen.

The sea turtle Caretta caretta, for example, can take one breath and stay in the water for about 10 hours. And yet, not all animals need to breathe oxygen to stay alive.

Scientists have discovered Henneguya salminicola, a parasite just 8mm long, that does not need oxygen to live and cannot process it like other creatures do.

The findings about this parasite have been published in the journal PNAS.

All other creatures have mitochondria, organelles that act as "energy factories" for cells by breaking down nutrients and turning them into energy. For the mitochondria to perform its function, it must turn oxygen into a type of "fuel" called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which enables processes such as muscle contraction, propagation of nerve impulses, and chemical synthesis. This conversion process is called aerobic respiration.

However, H. Salminicola does not have mitochondria, and therefore cannot perform aerobic respiration.

Researchers aren't entirely sure how H. salminicola breaks down nutrients without oxygen. One option is that this parasite gets the molecules it needs from its host. However, it is difficult to say, since the researchers were able to analyze the parasites after they were no longer alive.

However, this discovery highlights how much scientists still have to learn about the diversity of life on Earth. One of the study's authors told CNN that he expects H. salminicola is not the only creature that can survive without oxygen, or even in "weirder ways of existence."