Functional implications of dentition-based morphotypes in piscivorous fishes

Mihalitsis, Michalis, and Bellwood, David (2019) Functional implications of dentition-based morphotypes in piscivorous fishes. Royal Society Open Science, 6 (9). 190040.

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Teeth are crucial in elucidating the life history of vertebrates. However, most studies of teeth have focused on mammals. In heterodont mammals, tooth function is based on tooth shape and position along the jaw. However, the vast majority of vertebrates are homodont, and tooth function might not be based on the same principles (in homodonts, tooth shape is broadly similar along the jaw). We provide a quantitative framework and establish dentition-based morphotypes for piscivorous fishes. We then assess how these morphotypes relate to key functional feeding traits. We identified three broad morphotypes: edentulate, villiform and macrodont, with edentulate and villiform species displaying considerable functional overlap; macrodont species are more distinct. When analysing macrodonts exclusively, we found a major axis of variation between 'front-fanged' and 'back-fanged' species. The functional interpretations of this axis suggest that tooth-based functional decoupling could exist, even in homodont vertebrates, where teeth have similar shapes. This diversity is based not only on tooth shape but also solely on the position along the jaw.

Item ID: 60932
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2054-5703
Keywords: predation, coral reefs, teeth, morphology, ecomorphology, functional morphology
Copyright Information: © 2019 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funders: Australian Research Council
Projects and Grants: Grant no. CE140100020
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2019 07:40
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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