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J Exp Zool A Comp Exp Biol. 2004 Jan 1;301(1):26-37.

Comparative analysis of methods for determining bite force in the spiny dogfish Squalus acanthias.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33620, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Exp Zoolog Part A Comp Exp Biol. 2004 Mar 1;301(3):274.


Many studies have identified relationships between the forces generated by the cranial musculature during feeding and cranial design. Particularly important to understanding the diversity of cranial form amongst vertebrates is knowledge of the generated magnitudes of bite force because of its use as a measure of ecological performance. In order to determine an accurate morphological proxy for bite force in elasmobranchs, theoretical force generation by the quadratomandibularis muscle of the spiny dogfish Squalus acanthias was modeled using a variety of morphological techniques, and lever-ratio analyses were used to determine resultant bite forces. These measures were compared to in vivo bite force measurements obtained with a pressure transducer during tetanic stimulation experiments of the quadratomandibularis. Although no differences were found between the theoretical and in vivo bite forces measured, modeling analyses indicate that the quadratomandibularis muscle should be divided into its constituent divisions and digital images of the cross-sections of these divisions should be used to estimate cross-sectional area when calculating theoretical force production. From all analyses the maximum bite force measured was 19.57 N. This relatively low magnitude of bite force is discussed with respect to the ecomorphology of the feeding mechanism of S. acanthias to demonstrate the interdependence of morphology, ecology, and behavior in organismal design.

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