Raptorial jaws in the throat help moray eels swallow large prey

  title={Raptorial jaws in the throat help moray eels swallow large prey},
  author={Rita S Mehta and Peter C. Wainwright},
Most bony fishes rely on suction mechanisms to capture and transport prey. Once captured, prey are carried by water movement inside the oral cavity to a second set of jaws in the throat, the pharyngeal jaws, which manipulate the prey and assist in swallowing. Moray eels display much less effective suction-feeding abilities. Given this reduction in a feeding mechanism that is widespread and highly conserved in aquatic vertebrates, it is not known how moray eels swallow large fish and cephalopods… 
Ecomorphology of the Moray Bite: Relationship between Dietary Extremes and Morphological Diversity*
  • R. S. Mehta
  • Environmental Science
    Physiological and Biochemical Zoology
  • 2008
The pharyngeal jaws of moray eels function exclusively to transport prey from the oral jaws into the esophagus, and the range of jaw‐opening and jaw‐closing ratios revealed that for a clade of obligate carnivores, morays exhibit diverse biting behaviors.
Functional morphology of the pharyngeal jaw apparatus in moray eels
It is speculated that morays have evolved this alternative prey transport strategy as a means of overcoming gape constraints, while hunting in the confines of coral reefs.
Snowflake morays, Echidna nebulosa, exhibit similar feeding kinematics in terrestrial and aquatic treatments.
It is suggested that their elongate body plan, ability to rotate their heads in the dorsoventral and lateral directions, and extreme pharyngeal movements, all contribute to the ability of durophagous morays to feed in the terrestrial environment.
A morphological novelty for feeding and sound production in the yellowtail clownfish.
Analysis of the kinematics of sound production and feeding in yellowtail clownfish shows that the c-md ligament in addition to its role in sound production allows duplication of the mouth-closing mechanism during feeding.
ffects of prey characteristics on the feeding behaviors of an apex arine predator , the California moray ( Gymnothorax mordax ) mber
Moray eels comprise a large radiation of elongate marine predators that are thought to swallow large prey whole but also circumvent gape constraints by manipulating prey into more manageable pieces.
Cephalic specializations in relation to a second set of jaws in muraenids
The result showed that this innovative feeding mechanism may be linked to many cephalic modifications such as, stout and robust neurocranial elements, elongated lower jaw as result of the posterior position of the quadrato-mandibular articulation, enlarged teeth of oral jaws and premaxillo-ethmovomeral complex.
Performance of teeth of lingcod, Ophiodon elongatus, over ontogeny.
There is a shift in tooth function from vomerine to premaxillary teeth over ontogeny of lingcods, and in juvenile lingcod, vomerines function more effectively during initial puncture, suggesting increasing functional performance in retaining prey.
Functional Morphology and Biomechanics of Feeding in Fishes
Recent advances in understanding of fish feeding anatomy, behavior, and function are reviewed, with a focus on progress in cranial biomechanics in fishes.


Biting releases constraints on moray eel feeding kinematics
Whether the absence of suction feeding reduces temporal constraints on feeding kinematics, permitting greater variance in traits that characterize timing and the extent of motion in the neurocranium is tested, by comparing moray eel species with A. rostrata, two Centrarchids and a cichlid.
Motor Control Across Trophic Strategies: Muscle Activity of Biting and Suction Feeding Fishes1
Results demonstrate that change in the feeding motor pattern has accompanied morphological and behavioral change in transitions from suction to biting, which suggests that the neuromotor system has not acted as a constraint on the evolution of the feeding system in fishes.
Kinematics of feeding in bluegill sunfish: is there a general distinction between aquatic capture and transport behaviors?
  • Gillis, Lauder
  • Environmental Science, Biology
    The Journal of experimental biology
  • 1995
It is indicated that aquatic prey transport is kinematically distinct from capture behavior and that the distinctions between these two behaviors are remarkably consistent in two phylogenetically divergent lower vertebrate taxa.
Scaling the feeding mechanism of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides): kinematics of prey capture
  • Richard, Wainwright
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    The Journal of experimental biology
  • 1995
It is demonstrated that body size can have major effects on feeding kinematics and that future comparative studies of feeding k Cinematics should use empirical data on size effects in kinematic comparisons between taxa.
CHAPTER 9 – Feeding in Snakes
Post-cranial prey transport mechanisms in the black pinesnake, Pituophis melanoleucus lodingi: an x-ray videographic study.
Observations of feeding behavior in a phylogenetically diverse sample of fourteen other snake species demonstrate that similar post-cranial transport mechanisms are used by a wide variety of alethinophidian snakes that feed on large, bulky prey.
Morphology predicts suction feeding performance in centrarchid fishes
A morphological model of force transmission in the fish head was developed and parameterized with measurements from individual fish to reveal a direct trade-off between morphological requirements of feeding on larger prey and the ability to generate subambient pressure while suction feeding on elusive prey.
Evolution of Levers and Linkages in the Feeding Mechanisms of Fishes1
  • M. Westneat
  • Biology
    Integrative and comparative biology
  • 2004
This study examines the diversity of mechanical design of the oral jaws in 35 species of ray-finned fishes to analyze lower jaw lever models in a broad phylogenetic range of taxa and identify the origin and evolutionary patterns of change in the linkage systems that power maxillary rotation and upper jaw protrusion.
Evolutionary Strategies and Morphological Innovations: Cichlid Pharyngeal Jaws
The conversion of the preexisting elements into a new and significantly improved cichlid adaptive complex of high selective value may have evolved by rapid steps under influence of strong selection pressure acting on the minor reconstruction of the -genotype which is involved in evolutionary changes of the pertinent ontogenetic mechanisms.
Feeding : form, function, and evolution in tetrapod vertebrates
Feeding is a detailed survey of the varied ways that land vertebrates acquire food and the functional anatomy and the control of complex and dynamic structural components are recurrent themes of this volume.