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Title: The Evolution of Feeding Mechanics in the Danioninae, or Why Giant Danios Don't Suck Like Zebrafish

By linking anatomical structure to mechanical performance we can improve our understanding of how selection shapes morphology. Here we examined the functional morphology of feeding in fishes of the subfamily Danioninae (order Cypriniformes) to determine aspects of cranial evolution connected with their trophic diversification. The Danioninae comprise three major lineages and each employs a different feeding strategy. We gathered data on skull form and function from species in each clade, then assessed their evolutionary dynamics using phylogenetic-comparative methods. Differences between clades are strongly associated with differences in jaw protrusion. The paedomorphic Danionella clade does not use jaw protrusion at all, members of the Danio clade use jaw protrusion for suction production and prey capture, and members of the sister clade to Danio (e.g., Devario and Microdevario) use jaw protrusion to retain prey after capture. The shape of the premaxillary bone is a major determinant of protrusion ability, and premaxilla morphology in each of these lineages is consistent with their protrusion strategies. Premaxilla shapes have evolved rapidly, which indicates that they have been subjected to strong selection. We compared premaxilla development in giant danio (Devario aequipinnatus) and zebrafish (Danio rerio) and discuss a developmental mechanism that could shift danionine fishes between the feeding strategies employed by these species and their respective clades. We also identified a highly integrated evolutionary module that has been an important factor in the evolution of trophic mechanics within the Danioninae.

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Oxford University Press
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Integrative Organismal Biology
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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