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Otolith size and its relationship with colour patterns and sound production

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A comparative, morphometric study was made of the 185 sagitta otoliths from 18 species belonging to four coastal perciform families of the north‐west Mediterranean: the Labridae, Sparidae, Haemulidae and Sciaenidae. Species with relatively large otoliths belonged to groups considered specialists in sound production (sciaenids and haemulids), while those with small otoliths belonged to groups that rely on bright or contrasted colour patterns for visual communication (labrids). In sparids, species with clear body marks had smaller otoliths than species without dark stripes or dots. These findings support the hypothesis that otolith size is related to hearing ability in the inner ear.
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Keywords: Haemulidae; Labridae; Sciaenidae; Sparidae; ecomorphology; otolith area (OA)

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Departament de Recursos Marins Renovables, Institut de Ciències del Mar-CMIMA (CSIC), Passeig Marítim 37-49, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

Publication date: 01 December 2004

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