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Do Betta Fish Have Tongues?: Myth OR Fact

Do Betta Fish Have Tongues

Fish are one of those animals that everyone is familiar with, but few fully understand. Betta fish have a labyrinth organ that allows them to rise to the water’s surface and breathe air, which is an everyday activity. So do betta fish have tongues?

Bettas have tongues, much as other fish. They have a tongue-like feature at the bottom of their mouth, even though it is not visible. Fish tongues, unlike ours, have bony structures. On the other hand, fish do not utilize their tongues to taste food the way we do. They taste food through numerous glands and cells in their body. Thus, tongues have got a different purpose in a betta fish.

Do Betta Fish Have Tongues?

As stated earlier, betta fish do have tongues. Though, it would be best not to compare a fish tongue with a human’s as they are vastly different in purpose and exterior. A betta fish’s tongue is more of a bony structure, and unlike a human tongue, it is not utilized to taste food.

With bettas, tongues serve a distinct role. They serve as a protective barrier surrounding and protecting the ventral aorta, which provides blood to the gills. It also serves as a defense against other fish companions and shields them from toxic, difficult-to-swallow food.

They have a variety of taste buds located throughout their body. Gills, the fin, the tail, barbels, and the whole region surrounding the mouth are among them. So they do not use their tongues to taste food, but their tongues serve a different purpose than ours.

The ventral aorta – the artery that transports deoxygenated blood from the heart to the gills so it may obtain oxygen – is near to the mouth in a betta fish.

As a result, the basihyal (fish tongue) is said to have evolved as a means of protecting this vital artery. Fish tongues, for the most part, are immobile. They cannot move their tongues since they are not muscular. Thus, if you are wondering do betta fish have tongues, then the answer is yes.

Do Betta Fish Have Taste Buds?

Having answered ‘Do betta fish have tongues?’, now you start wondering do they have taste buds. Yes, fish, like humans, have taste buds. Their taste buds can tell the difference between sweet, sour, salty, and bitter flavors. Taste buds may be found not just in the mouths of fish but also in their bodies.

Taste buds require moisture to function, and because fish are constantly surrounded by water, taste buds may survive both on the outer skin of their sides and fins and within their mouths. Fish can taste with their bodies have an advantage when it comes to finding food.

The average person has around 10,000 taste buds. This number may appear high. However, when compared to the taste buds of betta fish, it is pretty low. This is because betta fish have taste receptors throughout their bodies, not only in their mouths.

On a betta fish, there are at least 100,000 to 500,000 taste buds. Because they have taste receptors on their entire body, including their fins, the number is vast. They can taste food long before it comes to their mouth, rather than smelling it nearby.

Betta Fish Tongue And Parasites

Having a tongue is not all suitable for a betta fish. Their tongues are also highly susceptible to parasitic infections. Fish tongue parasites are surprisingly prevalent, with the most common invader being the parasitic isopod cymothoa exigua, also known as the tongue-eating louse.

The tongue-eating louse has a unique technique of getting into a fish’s mouth. Female louses will enter the fish’s mouth through their gills, then break the blood arteries that link to the tongue with their sharp front claws.

The tongue will atrophy if it does not have a blood supply that gives nourishment and oxygen to the cells. The louse can then use the stub of the tongue to attach itself to the muscles.

After this first amputation and alteration, the louse does not inflict much more harm to its host fish’s body, contenting itself with ingesting the fish’s mucus, blood, or even bits of their victim after ingestion. When the host fish dies, the louse detaches itself from the stub of the tongue and departs the host’s body.

Difference Between A Fish And A Human Tongue

To summarize, fish tongues are boney rather than muscular, lack taste buds but may have teeth, and are meant to protect the ventral aorta rather than promote absorption and consumption. A human tongue also enables one to suck.

Sucking is impossible for fish because of their tongues. However, they enable fish to swiftly transfer food from the front of the mouth to the throat, particularly if their tongues are coated with teeth. The tongue of humans is an essential organ that helps in chewing and swallowing.

Fish tongues are as, if not more, essential, but differently. Fish tongues aid in the circulation of oxygenated water via the gills, which then deliver oxygen to the ventral aorta, distributing oxygen throughout the fish’s body.

FAQs on Do Betta Fish Have Tongues?

Do betta fish have tongues?

YES. Betta fish, like other fish, have tongues. Betta fish tongues are boney and are not meant for taste and swallow. They are intended to protect the ventral aorta and serve as a defense mechanism.

How many taste buds do betta fish have?

Betta fish do have taste buds. The number of taste buds varies between 100,000 and 500,000. This is because fish have taste buds all over their bodies.

Do betta fish have teeth?

YES. Betta fish do have teeth. They are pretty sharp and allows them to tear the food and make swallowing easier. Bettas also use their teeth during a fight to injure their opponents.

Why do betta fish open their mouth?

Betta fish can open their mouth for a variety of different reasons. One of the most common reasons for betta fish to open its mouth is the lack of sufficient oxygen in the tank, which forces it to come near the water surface to gasp for air.

Final Thoughts

If you have been wondering, do betta fish have tongues. Then the answer is yes. Betta fish have tongues that are boney in structure and are used as a protective barrier for its ventral aorta. Unlike humans, betta fish does not use its tongue to taste and swallow food.