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Title: A multi-tasking stomach: functional coexistence of acid–peptic digestion and defensive body inflation in three distantly related vertebrate lineages
Puffer and porcupine fishes (families Diodontidae and Tetraodontidae, order Tetradontiformes) are known for their extraordinary ability to triple their body size by swallowing and retaining large amounts of seawater in their accommodating stomachs. This inflation mechanism provides a defence to predation; however, it is associated with the secondary loss of the stomach's digestive function. Ingestion of alkaline seawater during inflation would make acidification inefficient (a potential driver for the loss of gastric digestion), paralleled by the loss of acid–peptic genes. We tested the hypothesis of stomach inflation as a driver for the convergent evolution of stomach loss by investigating the gastric phenotype and genotype of four distantly related stomach inflating gnathostomes: sargassum fish, swellshark, bearded goby and the pygmy leatherjacket. Strikingly, unlike in the puffer/porcupine fishes, we found no evidence for the loss of stomach function in sargassum fish, swellshark and bearded goby. Only the pygmy leatherjacket (Monochanthidae, Tetraodontiformes) lacked the gastric phenotype and genotype. In conclusion, ingestion of seawater for inflation, associated with loss of gastric acid secretion, is restricted to the Tetraodontiformes and is not a selective pressure for gastric loss in other reported gastric inflating fishes.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1754994
NSF-PAR ID:
10322228
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Biology Letters
Volume:
18
Issue:
2
ISSN:
1744-957X
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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