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Title: Multiple Degrees of Freedom in the Fish Skull and Their Relation to Hydraulic Transport of Prey in Channel Catfish
Synopsis Fish perform many complex manipulation behaviors without hands or flexible muscular tongues, instead relying on more than 20 movable skeletal elements in their highly kinetic skulls. How fish use their skulls to accomplish these behaviors, however, remains unclear. Most previous mechanical models have represented the fish skull using one or more planar four-bar linkages, which have just a single degree of freedom (DoF). In contrast, truncated-cone hydrodynamic models have assumed up to five DoFs. In this study, we introduce and validate a 3D mechanical linkage model of a fish skull that incorporates the pectoral girdle and mandibular and hyoid arches. We validate this model using an in vivo motion dataset of suction feeding in channel catfish and then use this model to quantify the DoFs in the fish skull, to categorize the motion patterns of the cranial linkage during feeding, and to evaluate the association between these patterns and food motion. We find that the channel catfish skull functions as a 17-link, five-loop parallel mechanism. Despite having 19 potential DoFs, we find that seven DoFs are sufficient to describe most of the motion of the cranial linkage, consistent with the fish skull functioning as a multi-DoF, manipulation system. Channel catfish use this linkage to generate three different motion patterns (rostrocaudal wave, caudorostral wave, and compressive wave), each with its own associated food velocity profile. These results suggest that biomechanical manipulation systems must have a minimum number of DoFs to effectively control objects, whether in water or air.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1655756 1661129
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Integrative Organismal Biology
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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