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Title: Fishes can use axial muscles as anchors or motors for powerful suction feeding
ABSTRACT Some fishes rely on large regions of the dorsal (epaxial) and ventral (hypaxial) body muscles to power suction feeding. Epaxial and hypaxial muscles are known to act as motors, powering rapid mouth expansion by shortening to elevate the neurocranium and retract the pectoral girdle, respectively. However, some species, like catfishes, use little cranial elevation. Are these fishes instead using the epaxial muscles to forcefully anchor the head, and if so, are they limited to lower-power strikes? We used X-ray imaging to measure epaxial and hypaxial length dynamics (fluoromicrometry) and associated skeletal motions (XROMM) during 24 suction feeding strikes from three channel catfish ( Ictalurus punctatus ). We also estimated the power required for suction feeding from oral pressure and dynamic endocast volume measurements. Cranial elevation relative to the body was small (<5 deg) and the epaxial muscles did not shorten during peak expansion power. In contrast, the hypaxial muscles consistently shortened by 4–8% to rotate the pectoral girdle 6–11 deg relative to the body. Despite only the hypaxial muscles generating power, catfish strikes were similar in power to those of other species, such as largemouth bass ( Micropterus salmoides ), that use epaxial and hypaxial muscles to power mouth expansion. These results show that the epaxial muscles are not used as motors in catfish, but suggest they position and stabilize the cranium while the hypaxial muscles power mouth expansion ventrally. Thus, axial muscles can serve fundamentally different mechanical roles in generating and controlling cranial motion during suction feeding in fishes.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1661129 1655756
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Journal of Experimental Biology
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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