Rapid pivot feeding in pipefish: flow effects on prey and evaluation of simple dynamic modelling via computational fluid dynamics
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Journal of the Royal Society interface: physical and life sciences. - London
, p. 1291-1301
University of Antwerp
Most theoretical models of unsteady aquatic movement in organisms assume that including steady-state drag force and added mass approximates the hydrodynamic force exerted on an organism's body. However, animals often perform explosively quick movements where high accelerations are realized in a few milliseconds and are followed closely by rapid decelerations. For such highly unsteady movements, the accuracy of this modelling approach may be limited. This type of movement can be found during pivot feeding in pipefish that abruptly rotate their head and snout towards prey. We used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to validate a simple analytical model of cranial rotation in pipefish. CFD simulations also allowed us to assess prey displacement by head rotation. CFD showed that the analytical model accurately calculates the forces exerted on the pipefish. Although the initial phase of acceleration changes the flow patterns during the subsequent deceleration phase, the accuracy of the analytical model was not reduced during this deceleration phase. Our analysis also showed that prey are left approximately stationary despite the quickly approaching pipefish snout. This suggests that pivot-feeding fish need little or no suction to compensate for the effects of the flow induced by cranial rotation.