The effect of high dietary levels of arachidonic acid (ARA) on the eye migration and cranial bone remodelling processes in Senegalese sole Solea senegalensis early juveniles (age: 50 days post hatch) was evaluated by means of geometric morphometric analysis and alizarin red staining of cranial skeletal elements. The incidence of normally pigmented fish fed the control diet was 99·1 ± 0·3% (mean ± s.e.), whereas it was only 18·7 ± 7·5% for those fed high levels of ARA (ARA-H). The frequency of cranial deformities was significantly higher in fish fed ARA-H (95·1 ± 1·5%) than in those fed the control diet (1·9 ± 1·9%). Cranial deformities were significantly and negatively correlated with the incidence of normally pigmented animals (r2 = −0·88, P < 0·001, n = 16). Thus, fish displaying pigmentary disorders differed in the position of their eyes with regard to the vertebral column and mouth axes, and by the interocular distance and head height, which were shorter than in fish not displaying pigmentary disorders. In addition to changes in the positioning of both eyes, pseudoalbino fish showed some ARA-induced osteological differences for some of the skeletal elements from the splanchnocranium (e.g. right premaxillary, dentary, angular, lacrimal, ceratohyal and branchiostegal rays) and neurocranium (e.g. sphenotic, left lateral ethmoid and left frontal) by comparison to normally pigmented specimens. Pseudoalbino fish also had teeth in both lower and upper jaws. This is the first study in Pleuronectiformes that describes impaired metamorphic relocation of the ocular side eye, the right eye in the case of S. senegalensis, whereas the left eye migrated into the ocular side almost normally.
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