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Why the long face? A comparative study of feeding kinematics of two pipefishes with different snout lengths

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This study showed that the mouth of Doryrhamphus dactyliophorus, a species with a relatively long snout, travels a greater distance compared with Doryrhamphus melanopleura, a species with a considerably shorter snout, allowing it to strike at prey that are farther away from the mouth. The long-snouted species also tended to reach significantly higher linear velocities of the mouth approaching the prey. On the other hand, D. melanopleura needed less time to capture its prey. A striking difference in prey-capture success was observed between species: D. melanopleura and D. dactyliophorus had a prey-capture success of 91 and 31%, respectively. The small prey size and the relatively large distance between eyes and prey are potential reasons why directing the mouth accurately to the prey is difficult in D. dactyliophorus, hence possibly explaining the lower prey-capture success in this long-snouted species.
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Keywords: Syngnathidae; biomechanics; pivot feeding; prey capture

Document Type: Editorial

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Universiteit Antwerpen, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Antwerpen, Belgium 2: Département d’Ecologie et de Gestion de la Biodiversité, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Caste Postale, Paris, Cedex 5, France 3: Evolutionary Morphology of Vertebrates, Ghent University, K.L. Ledeganckstraat 35, B-9000 Gent, Belgium

Publication date: 01 June 2011

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