Present address: Friday Harbor Laboratories, University of Washington, 620 University Road, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, U.S.A.
Ontogenetic scaling of the morphology and biomechanics of the feeding apparatus in the Pacific hagfish Eptatretus stoutii
Article first published online: 2 DEC 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Fish Biology © 2011 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles
Journal of Fish Biology
Volume 80, Issue 1, pages 86–99, January 2012
How to Cite
Clark, A. J. and Summers, A. P. (2012), Ontogenetic scaling of the morphology and biomechanics of the feeding apparatus in the Pacific hagfish Eptatretus stoutii. Journal of Fish Biology, 80: 86–99. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.2011.03145.x
- Issue published online: 4 JAN 2012
- Article first published online: 2 DEC 2011
- (Received 29 July 2010, Accepted 29 September 2011)
- bite force;
- feeding ecology;
The form and function of the support skeleton, musculature and teeth were examined in an ontogenetic series of Pacific hagfish Eptatretus stoutii spanning about a six-fold range in total length (LT). Tooth area, feeding apparatus length, basal plate size, theoretical dental plate retractile force, penetration force and applied tooth stress were measured relative to body size. Morphological variables (e.g. tooth area and basal plate size) scaled with positive allometry and functional variables (e.g. retractile force and applied tooth stress) scaled isometrically with LT. These results suggest that juveniles do not undergo ontogenetic dietary changes and consume functionally equivalent prey to adults, although adults can grasp proportionally larger portions of food. Low tooth stress in juveniles and adults imposes mechanical constraints to puncturing and tearing, which are circumvented by a preference for softer prey tissue or the inclusion of knotting behaviours for reducing tougher prey.