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A hydro-mechanical approach to the scaling of swimming performance in the sand flathead Platycephalus bassensis Cuvier: effects of changes in morphological features based on fish size

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The swimming performance of Platycephalus bassensis at steady speed was assessed with an emphasis on hydrodynamics. The minimum swimming speed to maintain hydrostatic equilibrium for P. bassensis of 0·271 m total length (LT) was calculated to be 1·06 LT s−1. At this speed, the required lift to support the mass of the fish was equivalent to 6·6% of the fish mass; 82·7% of which was created by the body as a hydrofoil, and the rest of which was created by the pelvic fins as hydrofoils. The minimum swimming speed decreased with the LT of the fish and ranged from 1·15 LT s−1 for a fish of 0·209 m to 0·89 LT s−1 for a fish of 0·407 m. The forward movement per tail-beat cycle (i.e. stride length) was described with an equation including quantities of morphological and hydro-mechanical relevance. This equation explained that stride length was increased by the effect of turbulence characterized by the Reynolds number and demonstrated the morphological and hydro-mechanical functional design of the fish for maximizing thrust and minimizing drag. The larger span of the caudal fin and caudal tail-beat amplitude was associated with larger stride length, whereas greater frictional drag was associated with smaller stride length.

Keywords: Platycephalus bassensis; hydrostatic equilibrium; sand flathead; stride length; swimming performance

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Department of Marine Biosciences, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, 4-5-7 Konan, Minato-Ku, Tokyo 108-8477, Japan

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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