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Development of the mandibular, hyoid arch and gill arch skeleton in the Chinese barb Puntius semifasciolatus: comparisons of ossification sequences among Cypriniformes

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Abstract

The morphogenesis and sequence of ossification and chondrification of skeletal elements of the jaws, and hyoid arch and gill arches of Puntius semifasciolatus are described. These data provide a baseline for further studies and enable comparisons with other described cypriniforms. Some general patterns of ossification in the hyoid arch and branchial arches in cypriniforms were notable. First, the overall development is from anterior to posterior, with the exception of the fifth ceratobranchial bone, which ossifies first. Second, where ossification of iterated elements is sequential, it tends to proceed from posterior to anterior, even when more posterior chondrifications are the smallest in the series. Ossification of the ceratobranchial, epibranchial and pharyngobranchial bones tends to proceed from ventral to dorsal. The comparisons revealed small sets of skeletal elements whose ossification sequence appears to be relatively conserved across cyprinid cypriniforms. Several potentially key timing changes in the ossification sequence of the jaws, hyoid arch and gill arches were identified, such as the accelerated timing of ossification of the fifth ceratobranchial bone, which may be unique to cypriniforms.

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