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A comparison of the mouth morphology of three co-occurring species of atherinid

Humphries, P. (1993) A comparison of the mouth morphology of three co-occurring species of atherinid. Journal of Fish Biology, 42 (4). pp. 585-593.

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The mouth morphology of three species of atherinids, which feed at different levels in the water column (benthos, plankton and water surface) were compared. These three species, which all grow to less than 100 mm in length, inhabit the shallows (<2m) of Wilson Inlet, a temperate south‐western Australian estuary. The species could be distinguished primarily on the basis of the extent to which they can protrude their jaws. Thus, whereas Leptatherina presbyteroides feeds highest in the water column, including at the water surface on terrestrial insects, and has the most protrusible jaws, Atherinosonia elongata feeds predominantly at or near the benthos and has the least protrusible jaws. Leptatherina wallacei, which ingests prey from the plankton and near the benthos, is intermediate in the degree to which it can protrude its jaws. Other characters of the three species which are associated with feeding, such as the number of gill rakers and the size of teeth, show consistent trends with the degree of jaw protrusion in relation to the type of prey consumed.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Inc
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