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Comparative morphology of the gas bladder in driftwood catfishes (Siluriformes: Auchenipteridae)



The gross morphology of the gas bladder is described and illustrated for representatives of most species and all valid genera of the Auchenipteridae (Siluriformes). Although, a simple cordiform gas bladder is present in some species of the family, others are characterized by their distinctive gas-bladder shape and diverticula disposition. An acute posterior end of the gas bladder characterizes Centromochlus heckelii and C. macracanthus, and is variably present in specimens of Auchenipterus. Tocantinsia piresi and Asterophysus batrachus have distinctive gas bladders differing in number of diverticula (two or many). The two species of Trachycorystes are diagnosed based on their gas bladder morphology: T. menezesi has a simple cordiform bladder, whereas T. trachycorystes has a pair of lateral diverticulum and, usually, a well-developed terminal diverticulum. Species of Auchenipterichthys are characterized by having a secondary bladder with simple chamber. Short or elongate and divergent terminal diverticula are exclusive to most cis-andine species of Trachelyopterus. Tetranematichthys and trans-andine species of Trachelyopterus share a well-developed secondary chamber or terminal diverticula ventrally or dorsally connected to the posterior chambers. The small-sized species of Ageneiosus have well-developed gas bladders with a pair of posterior diverticula, whereas large-sized species have a reduced gas bladder with tunica externa varying from non-, partially, or completely ossified. Eight phylogenetic characters are proposed based on the morphology of the gas bladder and associated structures in species of Auchenipteridae, and the evolution of those characters in the family discussed. J. Morphol., 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.