Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Biol Lett. 2009 Apr 23;5(2):200-3. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2008.0765. Epub 2009 Feb 20.

Suction is kid's play: extremely fast suction in newborn seahorses.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biology, Universiteit Antwerpen, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Antwerpen, Belgium. sam.vanwassenbergh@ua.ac.be

Abstract

Ongoing anatomical development typically results in a gradual maturation of the feeding movements from larval to adult fishes. Adult seahorses are known to capture prey by rotating their long-snouted head extremely quickly towards prey, followed by powerful suction. This type of suction is powered by elastic recoil and requires very precise coordination of the movements of the associated feeding structures, making it an all-or-none phenomenon. Here, we show that newborn Hippocampus reidi are able to successfully feed using an extremely rapid and powerful snout rotation combined with a high-volume suction, surpassing that observed in adult seahorses. An inverse dynamic analysis shows that an elastic recoil mechanism is also used to power head rotation in newborn H. reidi. This illustrates how extreme levels of performance in highly complex musculoskeletal systems can be present at birth given a delayed birth and rapid development of functionally important structures. The fact that the head skeleton of newborn seahorses is still largely cartilaginous may not be problematic because the hydrodynamic stress on the rotating snout appeared considerably lower than in adult syngnathids.

PMID:
19324657
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2665837
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk