Fish breathe by drinking. A pressurized gulp of water flows from the mouth into a gill chamber on each side of the head. Gills themselves, located in gill clefts within the gill chambers, consist of fleshy, sheetlike filaments transected by extensions called lamellae. As water flows across the gills, the oxygen within them diffuses into blood circulating through vessels in the filaments and lamellae. Simultaneously, carbon dioxide in the fish's bloodstream diffuses into the water and is carried out of the body. A fish can close the opercula, or flaps of tissue covering the gill openings, to prevent water from escaping.