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Keywords:

  • tooth attachment;
  • pedicel;
  • upper jaw tooth;
  • Gobiid fish;
  • Sicyopterus japonicus;
  • teleost

Abstract

Sicyopterus japonicus (Teleostei, Gobiidae), a hill-stream herbivorous gobiid fish, possesses an unusual oral dentition among teleost fishes on account of its feeding habitat. By using scanning electron microscopy, light microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy, including vital staining with tetracycline, we examined the development of the attachment tissues of the upper jaw teeth in this fish. The functional teeth of S. japonicus had an asymmetrical dentine shaft. The dentine shaft attached to the underlying uniquely shaped pedicel by means of two different attachment mechanisms. At the lingual base, collagen fiber bundles connected the dentine shaft with the pedicel (hinged attachment), whereas the labial base articulated with an oval-shaped projection of the pedicel (articulate attachment). The pedicel bases were firmly ankylosed to the crest of the thin flange of porous spongy bone on the premaxillary bone, which afforded a flange-groove system on the labial surface of the premaxillary bone. Developmentally, the pedicel and thin flange of spongy bone were completely different mineralized attachment tissues. The pedicel had a dual origin, i.e., the dental papilla cells, which differentiated into odontoblasts that constructed the internal surface of the pedicel, and the mesenchymal cells, which differentiated into osteoblasts that formed the outer face of the pedicel. A thin flange of spongy bone was deposited on the superficial resorbed labial side of the premaxillary bone proper, and later rapid bone remodeling proceeded toward the pedicel base. These unique features of pedicellate tooth attachment for the upper jaw teeth in the adult S. japonicus are highly modified teeth for enhancing the ability of individual functional teeth to move closely over irregularities in the rock surfaces during the scraping of algae. J. Morphol., 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.