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To feed or to breed: morphological constraints of mouthbrooding in coral reef cardinalfishes


Hoey, AS and Bellwood, DR and Barnett, A, To feed or to breed: morphological constraints of mouthbrooding in coral reef cardinalfishes, Royal Society of London. Proceedings B Biological Sciences, 279, (1737) pp. 2426-2432. ISSN 1471-2954 (2012) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 The Royal Society

DOI: doi:10.1098/rspb.2011.2679


Functionally coupled biomechanical systems are widespread in nature and are viewed as major constraints on evolutionary diversification, yet there have been few attempts to explore the implications of performing multiple functions within a single anatomical structure. Paternally mouthbrooding cardinalfishes present an ideal system to investigate the constraints of functional coupling as the oral jaws of male fishes are directly responsible for both feeding and reproductive functions. To test the effects of (i) mouthbrooding on feeding and (ii) feeding on reproductive potential we compared the feeding apparatus between sexes of nine species of cardinalfish and compared brood characteristics among species from different trophic groups, respectively. Mouthbrooding was strongly associated with the morphology of the feeding apparatus in males. Male cardinalfishes possessed longer heads, snouts and jaws than female conspecifics irrespective of body size, trophic group or evolutionary history. Conversely, reproductive potential also appeared to be related to trophic morphology. Piscivorous cardinalfishes produced larger, but fewer eggs, and had smaller brood volumes than species from the two invertebrate feeding groups. These interrelationships suggest that feeding and reproduction in the mouth of cardinalfishes may be tightly coupled. If so this may, in part, have contributed to the limited morphological diversification exhibited by cardinalfishes.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:functional coupling, mouthbrooding, ecomorphology, cardinalfish, coral reef
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Fish physiology and genetics
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Fisheries - wild caught not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Barnett, A (Dr Adam Barnett)
ID Code:82258
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2013-01-23
Last Modified:2016-09-30

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