Meeting Abstract

94.3  Saturday, Jan. 7  Comparison of Atlantic mudskippers (Periophthalmus barbarus) feeding in an aquatic and terrestrial environment: a detailed morphological and kinematical study. MICHEL, K.B.*; VAN WASSENBERGH, S.; AERTS, P.; Univ. of Antwerp, Belgium; Univ. of Antwerp, Belgium; Univ. of Antwerp, Belgium

In fish-to-tetrapod evolution, the transition from water to land required the adaptation of an aquatic feeding apparatus to a terrestrial environment. In order to understand the role of certain morphological changes observed from the fossil record, a first step is to identify how extant species dealt with such a transition. Here we describe the morphology of the feeding apparatus in the Atlantic mudskipper (Periophthalmus barbarus) and how it functions in both a terrestrial and aquatic environment. P. barbarus feeds by protrusion of the premaxilla, positioning its oral cavity over the prey, engulfing it, while rapid closure of the lower jaw ensures prey capture. In a terrestrial setting, water is frequently carried in the oral cavity and deposited on the prey as it is imbibed. Kinematics show us that prey capture on land shows a general resemblance to aquatic suction feeding. From high speed digital x-ray videography we learn that the use of water is not required but may facilitate successful prey capture on land. Our results suggest that Periophthalmus barbarus uses a modified form of aquatic suction feeding on land to facilitate swallowing and transport of prey inside the buccopharyngeal cavity. A versatile repertoire of volumetric expansion and jaw protrusion allows for terrestrial feeding with a primarily aquatic feeding apparatus.