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Structures and movements of the buccal and pharyngeal jaws in relation to feeding in Diplodus sargus
Vandewalle, P.; Saintin, P.; Chardon, M. (1995). Structures and movements of the buccal and pharyngeal jaws in relation to feeding in Diplodus sargus. J. Fish Biol. 46(4): 623-656.
In: Journal of Fish Biology. Fisheries Society of the British Isles: London,New York,. ISSN 0022-1112, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Vandewalle, P., more
  • Saintin, P.
  • Chardon, M.

    The present paper studies the possibly different feeding strategies of Diplodus sargus to crustaceans, molluscs, worms, and small fish. The buccal jaws are built strongly and bound together by numerous ligaments. The dentition is heterodont: incisors in front and molars in the middle and hind parts. The principal originality of the musculature of this species is the forward insertion of the adductores mandibulae. These are very thick and insert on both the upper and lower jaws, so that contraction of any individual muscle acts on the buccal pieces as a whole, which thus constitute a remarkable crushing device. The pharyngeal jaws are frail as in primitive perciforms: the lower ones are well separated, being bound only anteriorly, while the upper ones consist of the second and third pharyngobranchials and a posterior toothed plate. When feeding on crabs, Diplodus sargus always sucks in the prey and seizes it with the buccal jaws. Mouth opening is accompanied by extensive protrusion of the mouth, with or without neurocranial elevation. Mouth sucking and seizing movements vary little. Once seized, the prey is usually moved to the molars and crushed. The crushing movements may be fast and ample or slow. In the latter case, deformation of the prey is observable. Crushing usually results in the crab being broken into pieces. The pharyngeal jaws grip one part of the prey and shift it to the oesophagus, then seize the second part. Diplodus sargus adapts its feeding behaviour to the type of prey. A snail, for instance, is crushed by the buccal or pharyngeal teeth, the pieces of shell are ejected, and the soft parts conveyed with difficulty to the oesophagus by the pharyngeal jaws. A fish on the other hand, is sucked tail first into the mouth cavity and quickly shifted to the digestive tract by the pharyngeal bones. Behaviour toward different prey differs by the presence or absence of parts of the sequence of feeding movements (for example crushing) or by the fact that certain movements or parts of the sequence are repeated. The variability of any movement in the sequence is the same whatever the sort of prey. Crushing occurs between the buccal incisors and molars and was observed twice between the pharyngeal teeth. Usually, it seems, the latter are involved in transport only. In transport, the left and right pharyngeal jaws may perform different functions: their movements, unlike the symmetrical movements of the buccal jaws, sometimes differ.

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