The early osteological development of the skull (chondrocranium and osteocranium) of the pikeperch Sander lucioperca was studied. Specimens were reared at two temperatures, 15·5 and 18·0° C, from hatching until 47 and 43 days after fertilization (DAF), respectively. The skeletal elements characteristic for the different developmental stages were the same at both rearing temperatures, but pikeperch reared at 15·5° C reached the developmental stages later. The formation of the functional complexes, the neurocranium, jaws and suspensorium, branchial basket and hyoid arch, was evaluated chronologically. The focus was on skull development during several functional changes: at hatching, at the shift from endogenous to mixed feeding, the shift to exclusively exogenous feeding and upon reaching the final prey-capture mechanism. Growth in total length differed between fishes reared at the two temperatures, except during a phase of very slow growth from the end of the embryonic stage until the second larval stage. The latter phase, in which most of the bony elements of the viscerocranium started to form, was marked by high mortality. When exogenous feeding began, the growth rates at both temperatures increased distinctly and the first bony elements were formed in the neurocranium. Specimens reared at 18·0° C grew continuously, but those at 15·5° C showed a second period of slow growth and high mortality. Fish reared at 18·0° C reached the successive larval stages distinctly earlier than fish reared at 15·5° C.
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Document Type: Regular Paper
Department of Freshwater Ecology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria
Department of Theoretical Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria
Publication date: 2008-01-01