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A longitudinal study of tooth succession in piranhas (Pisces: Characidae), with an analysis of the tooth replacement cycle



Within each jaw quadrant of piranhas (Serrasalmus), the teeth develop and are replaced almost synchronously, replacement being effected in a very short time relative to the functional life of the teeth. The order of replacement of the four quadrants is more variable and several patterns were observed in living specimens, although most commonly the teeth on one side of the dentition are replaced together, with a delay before the teeth on the other side are replaced. Some data on rates and number of replacements are presented, together with a description of movement, shedding and fixation of the teeth. The full dentition and the patterns of tooth succession appear to be established at the first appearance of teeth in the larva. Thereafter, replacement may be controlled by a local mechanism related to the tooth development process.

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