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A Novel Biting Mechanism in Damselfishes (Pomacentridae): the Pushing Up of the Lower Pharyngeal Jaw By the Pectoral Girdle

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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).

This study presents a novel mechanism for biting with the pharyngeal jaws in the labroid family Pomacentridae (damselfishes). Results of experiments in which 9 branchial and hyoid muscles were electrically stimulated are presented. Upon contraction of the m. protractor pectoralis the pectoral girdle is protracted and makes contact with the lower pharyngeal jaw resulting in the elevation of the lower pharyngeal jaw. The force of the m. protractor pectoralis contributes to the biting force of the m. levator externus 4 and m. levator posterior during biting and in this way increases the total biting force that can be exerted on prey.

Affiliations: 1: (Institute for Evolutionary and Ecological Sciences, University of Leiden, P.O. Box 9516, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands, Email:


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