Morphology of the buccal apparatus and related structures in four Carapidae
Parmentier Eric, Chardon Michel, Poulicek Mathieu, Bussers Jean-Claude & Vandewalle Pierre
Australian Journal of Zoology, 46, 391-404. 1998
The aim of this study is firstly to compare the morphology of the buccal apparatus, the suspensorium and the opercle in four Carapidae species (Carapus acus, Encheliophis boraborensis, Encheliophis homei and Encheliophis gracilis) and secondarily to see whether the head anatomy is related to their carnivorous diet and to their well known ability in entering Holothuroids.
(1) The complex and strong dentition and the wide hyomandibular with thickenings that seem to suit the constraints of the adductor mandibulae muscles partly inserted on the neurocranium are signs of a carnivorous diet.
(2) C. acus, E. boraborensis and E. homei have extremely strong buccal pieces and can protrude their upper jaws. On the other hand, in E. gracilis, the jaws are more slender and insertions of the A1 along the entire length of the maxillary associated with the lack of mobility between the maxillary and the premaxillary prevent buccal protrusion. These differences could be related with the diet: C. acus, E. boraborensis and E. homei can feed on fishes and crustaceans, whereas E. gracilis only feed on holothurian tissue.
(3) The cephalic morphology of the four species is not incompatible with entering the host. However, the neutralisation of the suboperculum spine by "cartilaginous" tissue could be understood as a particular adaptation to this behaviour.
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