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J Exp Zool. 2000 May 1;286(6):563-71.

Effects of prey type on motor pattern variance in tetraodontiform fishes.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida 32306, USA. pcwainwright@ucdavis.edu

Abstract

It is unclear whether the high variance of electromyographic parameters measured in feeding teleost fishes reflects functionally significant motor variation that is under control of the fish, or functionally insignificant variation characteristic of EMG data. We addressed this issue by examining the effect of three prey, differing in physical characteristics, on the feeding motor pattern in three fishes of the Order Tetraodontiformes: the filefish, Monacanthus hispidus; the triggerfish, Balistes capriscus; and the puffer, Sphoeroides nephelus. EMG recordings were made from subdivisions of the mouth closing adductor mandibulae muscle and the mouth opening levator operculi muscle in four fish from each species feeding on live fiddler crabs, live shrimp, and pieces of cut squid mantle. Analysis of variance was used to test for effects of prey type on the standard deviation of muscle burst duration, burst onset time, and average burst amplitude in the adductor muscles. The filefish exhibited a doubling of standard deviation of burst duration in all muscles when feeding on fiddler crabs; triggerfish showed increased standard deviations in onset times and duration of two muscles when feeding on squid mantle; and the puffer showed no effects of prey on motor variability. The observation that prey type can elicit more than a doubling in the standard deviation of some EMG traits indicates that a large portion of the within-prey type variance is under direct control of the individual fish, suggesting an even greater level of fine motor control in teleost feeding mechanisms than previously recognized.

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