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Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 199, Issue 7, pp 641–651 | Cite as

Prey processing in the Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens)

  • Nicolai KonowEmail author
  • Belma Krijestorac
  • Christopher P. J. Sanford
  • Renauld Boistel
  • Anthony Herrel
Original Paper

Abstract

We studied prey processing in the Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens), involving slow, easily observed head-bobbing movements, which were compared with prey processing in other aquatic feeding vertebrates. We hypothesized that head-bobbing is a unique prey-processing behaviour, which alternatively could be structurally and functionally analogous with raking in basal teleosts, or with pharyngognathy in neoteleosts. Modulation of head-bobbing was elicited by prey with different motility and toughness. Head-bobbing involved sustained mouth occlusion and pronounced cranial elevation, similar to raking. However, the hyoid and pectoral girdle were protracted, and not retracted as in both raking and pharyngognathy. High-speed videofluoroscopy of hyoid movements confirmed that head-bobbing differs from other known aquatic prey-processing behaviours. Nevertheless, head-bobbing and other prey-processing behaviours converge on a recurrent functional theme in the trophic ecology of aquatic feeding vertebrates; the use of intraoral and oropharyngeal dentition surfaces to immobilize, reduce and process relatively large, tough or motile prey. Prey processing outside the pharyngeal region has not been described for neoteleosts previously, but morphological evidence suggests that relatives of Betta might use similar processing behaviours. Thus, our results suggest that pharyngognathy did not out-compete ancestral prey-processing mechanisms completely during the evolution of neoteleosts.

Keywords

Convergence Kinematics Oropharyngeal Videofluoroscopy Nutritional physiology 

Abbreviations

am

Adductor mandibulae muscle

bar

Branchial arch remainders

bh

Basihyal

bhh

Horizontal movement of basihyal

bhv

Vertical movement of basihyal

bo

Body

cb

Ceratobranchial

cbl

Cleithrobranchial ligament

cv

Craniovertebral joint

gp

Mandibular jaw gape expansion

j

Jaw joint

jp

Jaw protrusion

l

Lower jaw

mnc

Magnitude of cranial elevation

mpg

Magnitude of pectoral girdle protraction

n

Neurocranium

nc

Neurocranial elevation

p

Pectoral girdle

pb

Pharyngobranchial

pg

Pectoral girdle movement

ph

Protractor hyoideus muscle

ps

Parasphenoid

r

Rostrum

sus

Suspensorium

t0

Time-zero (cranial elevation onset)

TL

Total length

u

Upper jaw

v

Vomer

vpg

Velocity of pectoral girdle protraction

vnc

Velocity of neurocranial elevation

μCT

Micro-computed tomography

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank A.L. Camp, A. Luu and S. Van Wassenbergh for help with experiments and analyses, and the anonymous reviewers for their comments. All research complied with the current laws of the United States of America and Belgium, and with institutional ethics permits and animal care and use protocols. Work supported by the National Science Foundation IOB#0444891, #0420440 (to C.P.J.S.) and a research grant from the Fund for Scientific Research—Flanders, Belgium (to A.H.).

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (MPG 1616 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicolai Konow
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Belma Krijestorac
    • 1
  • Christopher P. J. Sanford
    • 1
  • Renauld Boistel
    • 2
  • Anthony Herrel
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyHofstra UniversityHempsteadUSA
  2. 2.Département d’Ecologie et de Gestion de la BiodiversitéUMR 7179 C.N.R.S/M.N.H.N.Paris Cedex 5France
  3. 3.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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