Publication
Title
Hydrodynamic performance of suction feeding is virtually unaffected by variation in the shape of the posterior region of the pharynx in fish
Author
Abstract
To capture prey by suction, fish generate a flow of water that enters the mouth and exits at the back of the head. It was previously hypothesized that prey-capture performance is improved by a streamlined shape of the posterior region of the pharynx, which enables an unobstructed outflow with minimal hydrodynamic resistance. However, this hypothesis remained untested for several decades. Using computational fluid dynamics simulations, we now managed to quantify the effects of different shapes of the posterior pharynx on the dynamics of suction feeding, based on a feeding act of a sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus). In contrast to what was hypothesized, the effects of the imposed variation in shape were negligible: flow velocity patterns remained essentially identical, and the effects on feeding dynamics were negligibly small. This remarkable hydrodynamic insensitivity implies that, in the course of evolution, the observed wedge-like protrusions of the pectoral surfaces of the pharynx probably resulted from spatial constraints and/or mechanical demands on the musculoskeletal linkages, rather than constraints imposed by hydrodynamics. Our study, therefore, exceptionally shows that a streamlined biological shape subjected to fluid flows is not always the result of selection for hydrodynamic improvement.
Language
English
Source (journal)
Royal Society Open Science
Royal Society Open Science
Publication
2018
ISSN
2054-5703
Volume/pages
5 :9 (2018) , 14 p.
Article Reference
181249
ISI
000446259700066
Medium
E-only publicatie
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (open access)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Publication type
Subject
Affiliation
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Record
Identification
Creation 20.09.2018
Last edited 25.11.2021
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