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Anat Histol Embryol. 2009 Oct;38(5):351-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0264.2009.00953.x. Epub 2009 Aug 13.

Osteological development of the garfish (Belone belone) larvae.

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Department of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb, Heinzelova 55, 10 000, Zagreb, Croatia.


Garfish, Belone belone (Linnaeus, 1761) is an elongate, slander fish inhabiting the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. These fish from the Belonidae (Actinopterygii) family have important commercial value for Croatian fisheries. Samples for research were collected from experimental hatching in the Novigrad Sea. Preparation techniques included fixation in buffered formalin, trypsin clearing and staining with alcian blue and alizarin red. As little is known of garfish osteology and bone morphology, the main goal of this study was to describe ossification process in garfish fry. At hatching, no skeletal structure is present. Newly-hatched larvae also had no osteological elements. Ossification started at 7 day post-hatching (DPH) [total length (TL) 18 mm] with head bones and vertebral neural arch. Head skeleton continued to develop mostly over the period from 7 to 10 DPH. At 21 DPH (TL 49 mm), ossification process seemed to be finished, but it was not possible to distinguish borders of all bones. The primary interest of our research was to understand the growth dynamics as well as transformation of supporting body elements from cartilage to bone. At the end, developmental characteristics and functional aspects of this formation in different fish species are discussed.

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