Image: Rete mirabile of a Queensland Groper
Rete mirabile of a Queensland Groper, Epinephelus lanceolatus.
- Geoff McPherson
- © Geoff McPherson
Many fishes regulate their bouyancy by adding and removing gas from the gas bladder (or swim bladder). Diffusion of gas from the blood into the gas bladder occurs at a highly vascular region of the gas bladder wall known as the gas gland. Within the gas gland is a network of capillaries called the rete mirabile (wonderful net). The countercurrent arrangement of capillaries in the rete mirable helps to build up the level of diffusable gases in the gas gland.
Helfman, G.S., Collette, B.B., Facey, D.E. and B.W. Bowen. 2009. The Diversity of Fishes. Biology, Evolution and Ecology. Wiley-Blackwell. Pp. 720.