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Novel structure in sciaenid fish skulls indicates continuous production of the cephalic neuromast cupula
Pombo, M.; Turra, A. (2016). Novel structure in sciaenid fish skulls indicates continuous production of the cephalic neuromast cupula. NPG Scientific Reports 6(37523): 8 pp. http://hdl.handle.net/10.1038/srep37523
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322; e-ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Biology > Zoology > Vertebrate zoology > Ichthyology
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Pombo, M.
  • Turra, A.

Abstract
    The presence of a conspicuous and frequent but never-described structure in the skull cavities of sciaenid fish was noted during population studies in an urbanized bay. The ultrastructure closely resembles the cupula of neuromasts, an organ associated with the perception of the environment in teleost fish. The bodies were recorded detached in both preserved and freshly sampled individuals and without associated cilia. Prominent characteristics are acellularity, the elliptic-conic shape composed of stack-like protein lamellas, and a mesh-like appearance in cross section. These acellular lamellar cephalic bodies (ALCBs) were more abundant in larger individuals and showed temporal peaks of abundance independently of the fish size. The conic and lamellar features suggest that the deposition of protein layers follows fish growth, and the bimodality of the size of these structures in individuals indicates temporal peaks of production. These results indicate that these ALCBs are a consequence of the accretion of the cupula of neuromasts at a faster rate than they degrade. Given the novelty of this structure and the increasing records of diseases of marine organisms worldwide, an important question is whether these bodies occur subsequently to some environmental change and whether their accumulation in the skull cavities has consequences to fish health.

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