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Relative importance of growth and behaviour to elasmobranch suction-feeding performance over early ontogeny.

ABSTRACT: Development of the ability to capture prey is crucial to predator survival. Trends in food-capture performance over early ontogeny were quantified for leopard sharks Triakis semifasciata and whitespotted bamboosharks Chiloscyllium plagiosum by measuring suction pressure and flow in front of the mouth during feeding. At any size, C. plagiosum produce greater subambient pressure and ingest more rounded water parcels. Maximum subambient pressure scaled with negative allometry in T. semifasciata and was accompanied by an increase in the time to reach maximum gape. Despite a similar trend in buccal expansion timing, maximum pressure in C. plagiosum scaled with isometry and was accompanied by an earlier onset of hyoid depression and a positive allometric increase in buccal reserve volume. Growth was the primary factor responsible for developmental trends in both species, with size-independent behavioural changes contributing little to overall performance variability. Ontogenetic dietary shifts are predicted for both species as a consequence of size-dependent changes in performance. Chiloscyllium plagiosum becomes anatomically and behaviourally canalized towards suction feeding, limiting the effective range of prey capture and possibly necessitating stalking. Triakis semifasciata, by contrast, retains the flexibility to employ both ram and suction and therefore captures more elusive prey with age.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC3226986 | BioStudies | 2008-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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