Size-related changes in cranial morphology affect diet in the catfish Clariallabes longicauda

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2007
Authors:M. Wyckmans, Van Wassenbergh, S. , Adriaens, D. , Van Damme, R. , Herrel, A.
Journal:Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
Accession Number:WOS:000249562600011

Within the catfish family Clariidae, species exist with different degrees of jaw adductor hypertrophy. This jaw adductor hypertrophy has been related to bite performance, in turn suggesting a link to dietary specialization. Thus, an increase in the degree of hypertrophy will likely be reflected in an increase in the amount of hard prey in the diet. In the present study, we examine the ontogenetic scaling of cranial structure and diet in a species of catfish with a moderate degree of jaw adductor hypertrophy, Clariallabes longicauda. Additionally, we investigate whether the observed changes in the morphology of the feeding system during growth are linked to changes in diet. The fish examined demonstrate a strong positively allometric growth of the jaw adductors, of head height and of maximal head width, suggesting that larger fish can feed on larger and harder prey. Dietary data confirm these hypotheses and reveal an increase in maximal prey size consumed, the proportion of large prey in the diet, and average prey hardness during ontogeny. Moreover, the observed changes in the proportion of large prey consumed and prey hardness are correlated with an increase in lower jaw width and maximal head width, respectively. An increase in the amount of evasive prey in the diet with fish size is correlated with an increase in hyoid length. In summary, not only size dependent, but also size-independent variation of the feeding system was associated with ontogenetic changes in diet in C. longicauda. (C) 2007 The Linnean Society of London.

URL:<Go to ISI>://WOS:000249562600011

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