Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Journal of fish biology


The first recorded incidence of dicephalia in a bull shark Carcharhinus leucas is reported from a foetus collected by a fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico near Florida, U.S.A. External examination, Radiography and magnetic resonance imaging revealed a case of monosomic dicephalia where the axial skeleton and internal organs were found to divide into parallel systems anterior to the pectoral girdle resulting in two well-developed heads.

Concepts: Skeletal system, Magnetic resonance imaging, Human anatomy, Mexico, Shark, Bull shark, Requiem shark, Carcharhinus


Cetorhinus maximus aggregations recorded during extensive aerial survey efforts off the north-eastern United States between 1980 and 2013 included aggregations centring on sightings with group sizes of at least 30 individuals. These aggregations occurred in summer and autumn months and included aggregation sizes of up to 1398 individuals, the largest aggregation ever reported for this species. The aggregations were associated with sea surface temperatures of 13-24° C and chlorophyll-a concentrations of 0·4-2·6 mg m-3and during one aggregation, a high abundance of zooplankton prey was present. Photogrammetric tools allowed for the estimation of total body lengths ranging between 4 and 8 m. Characterization of these events provides new insight into the potential biological function of large aggregations in this species.

Concepts: United States, Atlantic Ocean, New York City, Shark, Basking shark, Whale shark, Filter feeder, Megamouth shark


Great hammerhead sharks Sphyrna mokarran are the largest member of Sphyrnidae, yet the roles of these large sharks in the food webs of coastal ecosystems are still poorly understood. Here we obtained samples of muscle, liver and vertebrae from large S. mokarran (234-383 cm total length; LT ) caught as by-catch off eastern Australia and used stable-isotope analyses of ẟ15 N, ẟ13 C and ẟ34 S to infer their resource use and any associated ontogenetic patterns. The results indicated large S. mokarran are apex predators primarily relying on other sharks and rays for their diet, with a preference for benthic resources such as Australian cownose rays Rhinoperon neglecta during the austral summer. Teleosts, cephalopods and crustaceans were not significant components of S. mokarran diets, though some conspecifics appeared to rely on more diverse resources over the austral summer. Ontogenetic shifts in resource use were detected but trajectories of the increases in trophic level varied among individuals. Most S. mokarran had non-linear trajectories in ontogenetic resource-use shifts implying size was not the main explanatory factor. Stable isotope values of ẟ13 C and ẟ34 S in muscle suggest S. mokarran span coastal, pelagic and benthic food webs in eastern Australia. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


Recent research has identified genetic groups of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar that show association with geological and environmental boundaries. This study focuses on one particular subgroup of the species inhabiting the chalk streams of southern England, U.K. These fish are genetically distinct from other British and European S. salar populations and have previously demonstrated markedly low admixture with populations in neighbouring regions. The genetic population structure of S. salar occupying five chalk streams was explored using 16 microsatellite loci. The analysis provides evidence of the genetic distinctiveness of chalk-stream S. salar in southern England, in comparison with populations from non-chalk regions elsewhere in western Europe. Little genetic differentiation exists between the chalk-stream populations and a pattern of isolation by distance was evident. Furthermore, evidence of temporal stability of S. salar populations across the five chalk streams was found. This work provides new insights into the temporal stability and lack of genetic population sub-structuring within a unique component of the species' range of S. salar.

Concepts: Biology, United Kingdom, Europe, Salmon, Population genetics, Atlantic salmon, Salmo, Charles Darwin


A transition between polymorphic phenotypes was observed within a single male Sternarchogiton nattereri. This individual was initially toothless, but developed into a toothed phenotype characterized by a swollen distal upper jaw and distinctive external dentition. Changes in morphological features were accompanied by shifts in electrocommunication (chirping) behaviour.

Concepts: Phenotype, Jaw, Genotype-phenotype distinction, Apteronotidae, Sternarchogiton nattereri, Sternarchogiton


The age, total length (LT ), head shape and skull shape were investigated for 379 Japanese eels Anguilla japonica sampled in freshwater and brackish areas of the Kojima Bay-Asahi River system, Okayama, Japan, to learn about the differentiation process of head-shape polymorphism. The relative mouth width (ratio of mouth width to LT ) of A. japonica > 400 mm LT collected in fresh water was significantly greater than that of fish collected in brackish water. Growth rates of mouth width and the distance from the snout to the midpoint of the eyes (the ratio of width and distance to age, respectively) were not significantly different between freshwater and brackish-water samples, whereas the somatic growth rate (the ratio of LT to age) of freshwater samples was significantly lower than that of brackish-water eel samples. These results suggest that the factors affecting head and somatic growth of A. japonica are not identical. According to these results and feeding patterns in each habitat reported by another study, it is suggested that somatic growth appears to play a significant role in the differentiation process of the head-shape polymorphism in A. japonica, with the slow-growing fish in fresh water becoming broad-headed and the fast-growing fish in brackish water becoming narrow-headed.

Concepts: Ratio, River, Estuary, Amazon River, Eel, Japanese eel, Length, Aquatic ecology


Sagittal otolith shapes were investigated in order to identify three sympatric species of south Caspian gobies (Caspian goby Neogobius caspius, deepwater goby Ponticola bathybius and bighead goby Ponticola gorlap). The sagittal otoliths in P. bathybius have a rectangular shape and are thick, whereas in N. caspius they are relatively round and thin. In P. gorlap, otoliths have an elongated shape and are relatively thick. The noticeable difference among the otoliths of the three species is the presence of one anterior and one posterior projection in the otoliths of N. caspius and P. gorlap. Among shape indices, form factor (irregularity of surface area), circularity, aspect ratio and rectangularity are the foremost that indicate interspecific variability. The canonical discriminant analysis correctly classifies 94·7% of the original group cases. The overall analyses show the relevance of applying otolith shape for interspecific distinction of the three species of Caspian gobies.

Concepts: Ratio, Anatomy, Aspect ratio, Area, Paleontology, Equidimensional, Rectangle, Gobiidae


The ontogeny of larval body density and the morphological and histological events during swimbladder development were investigated in two cohorts of yellowtail kingfish Seriola lalandi larvae to understand the relationship between larval morphology and body density. Larvae <3 days post hatch (dph) were positively buoyant with a mean ± s.d. body density of 1·023 ± 0·001 g cm(-3) . Histological evidence demonstrated that S. lalandi larvae are initially transient physostomes with the primordial swimbladder derived from the evagination of the gut ventral to the notochord and seen at 2 dph. A pneumatic duct connected the swimbladder to the oesophagus, but degenerated after 5 dph. Initial swimbladder (SB) inflation occurred on 3 dph, and the inflation window was 3-5 dph when the pneumatic duct was still connected to the gut. The swimbladder volume increased with larval age and the epithelial lining on the swimbladder became flattened squamous cells after initial inflation. Seriola lalandi developed into a physoclist with the formation of the rete mirabile and the gas-secreting gland comprised low-columnar epithelial cells. Larvae with successfully inflated swimbladders remained positively buoyant, whereas larvae without SB inflation became negatively buoyant and their body density gradually reached 1·030 ± 0·001 g cm(-3) by 10 dph. Diel density changes were observed after 5 dph, owing to day time deflation and night-time inflation of the swimbladder. These results show that SB inflation has a direct effect on body density in larval S. lalandi and environmental factors should be further investigated to enhance the rate of SB inflation to prevent the sinking death syndrome in the early life stage of the fish larvae.

Concepts: Developmental biology, Density, Fish, Epithelium, Epithelial cells, Carangidae, Swim bladder, Rete mirabile


Critical (<30 min) and prolonged (>60 min) swimming speeds in laboratory chambers were determined for larvae of six species of Australian freshwater fishes: trout cod Maccullochella macquariensis, Murray cod Maccullochella peelii, golden perch Macquaria ambigua, silver perch Bidyanus bidyanus, carp gudgeon Hypseleotris spp. and Murray River rainbowfish Melanotaenia fluviatilis. Developmental stage (preflexion, flexion, postflexion and metalarva) better explained swimming ability than did length, size or age (days after hatch). Critical speed increased with larval development, and metalarvae were the fastest swimmers for all species. Maccullochella macquariensis larvae had the highest critical [maximum absolute 46·4 cm s(-1) and 44·6 relative body lengths (LB ) s(-1) ] and prolonged (maximum 15·4 cm s(-1) , 15·6 LB s(-1) ) swimming speeds and B. bidyanus larvae the lowest critical (minimum 0·1 cm s(-1) , 0·3 LB s(-1) ) and prolonged swimming speeds (minimum 1·1 cm s(-1) , 1·0 LB s(-1) ). Prolonged swimming trials determined that the larvae of some species could not swim for 60 min at any speed, whereas the larvae of the best swimming species, M. macquariensis, could swim for 60 min at 44% of the critical speed. The swimming performance of species with precocial life-history strategies, with well-developed larvae at hatch, was comparatively better and potentially had greater ability to influence their dispersal by actively swimming than species with altricial life-history strategies, with poorly developed larvae at hatch.

Concepts: Fish, Murray River, Percichthyidae, Freshwater fish of Australia, Murray cod, Golden perch, Maccullochella, Trout cod


Truss analysis and length measurements were made on 168 striped red mullet Mullus surmuletus. Multivariate statistical analyses with principal component analysis and partial redundancy analysis (pRDA) were used on these measurements to evaluate the influence of maturity, sex and geographical area distribution on body shape. Truss measurements were important to quantify and discriminate changing body shape, presumably due to changing environmental conditions. Sexual dimorphism was not observed and juveniles could be distinguished from adults based on their body shape. More importantly, M. surmuletus occurring in different geographical areas could be differentiated using this method. Based on pRDA, a significant difference of head morphological dimensions was observed between populations occurring in the eastern English Channel and those occurring in the Bay of Biscay, suggesting that fish from these areas could represent two subpopulations.

Concepts: Multivariate statistics, Principal component analysis, France, Red mullet, Mullidae, Mullus barbatus, Mullus surmuletus, Mullus