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The anal fin complex in a weakly discharging electric fish, Gnathonemus petersii(Mormyridae)

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An examination of the permanent bony structures of the anal fin complex in the mormyrid fish, Gnathonemus petersii, revealed two new structural sexual dimorphisms: longer proximal pterygiophores and wider anal fin rays in males than in females. Both structures are thought to facilitate the male’s courtship‐associated anal fin reflex. Adult male mormyrid fishes are characterized by a dorsally directed indentation of the posterior body wall (anal fin indentation). The expression of this indentation in males, presumably driven by anal fin musculature, was correlated with the fish’s gonadal state: large indentations were associated with high gonado‐somatic indices and small indentations with low indices.
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Keywords: Gnathonemus petersii; Mormyridae; anal fin; sexual dimorphism; structural plasticity and permanence

Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: 01 January 2005

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