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Comparative Functional Anatomy of the Pharyngeal Jaw Apparatus in Two Morphs of Astatoreochromis Alluaudi (Pisces, Cichlidae)

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

Phenotypic differences of the pharyngeal jaw apparatus between morphs of Astatoreochromis alluaudi are well known. But only a limited number of elements have been described in detail. In this study an anatomical description of elements markedly differing between the two extremes of the phenotypic range - the snail-eating and the non-snail-eating morph - is provided, and compared with the anatomy of a generalized Haplochromis species, H. elegans. Many skeletal elements and muscles of the pharyngeal jaw apparatus show hypertrophy in the snail-eating (hypertrophied) morph. However, the elements of the pharyngeal jaw apparatus of the non-snail-eating (non-hypertrophied) morph, which mainly feeds on insects, are generally more hypertrophied than the elements in the obligate insectivorous species H. elegans. Many of the differences between the two morphs can be interpreted functionally as adaptations to the increased crushing force of the hypertrophied morph. Differences between the morphs were compared with literature data of differences between non-durophagous and durophagous trophic types in other labroid taxa and in the Centrarchidae. Comparable differences are found for the pharyngeal jaw bones and the two largest pharyngeal muscles. The functional demands of crushing hard prey types appear to be very similar for the different groups. The small muscles show only slight similarity. Demands of other functions may co-determine their shape.

Affiliations: 1: Research Group in Ecological Morphology, Institute of Evolutionary and Ecological Sciences, van der Klaauw Laboratorium, Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, Postbus 9516, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands


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