Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lopsided fish show that symmetry is only skin deep

Date:
February 1, 2010
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Putting function before form, members of the Perissodinus genus of fish have developed a hugely lopsided jaw that provides a distinct feeding advantage. Researchers describe how these scale-eating fish, called cichlids, develop mouths directed either to the left or the right -- enabling them to feed on the opposite side of their prey.

A cichlid fish, Perissodus elaviae.
Credit: Stewart and Albertson; BMC Biology

Putting function before form, members of the Perissodinus genus of fish have developed a hugely lopsided jaw that provides a distinct feeding advantage. Research published in the open access journal BMC Biology describes how these scale-eating fish, called cichlids, develop mouths directed either to the left or the right -- enabling them to feed on the opposite side of their prey.

Related Articles


A research team from Syracuse University, led by Thomas Stewart and R. Craig Albertson, studied the facial evolution of cichlids from Lake Tanganyika in eastern Africa, where they feed on the scales of larger lake-dwellers. According to Stewart, "While most animals have bilateral symmetry and some show a radial symmetry, asymmetries are actually relatively common in nature. For example, humans can be either left handed or right handed, and one side of the brain is structured differently to the other. Often, both the trait and whether it is placed on the left or right are genetically determined, and the population as a whole tends to show the same characteristic. For example, most people have their heart positioned slightly to the left."

The research team found that there is a genetic locus that determines whether a cichlid will be a 'lefty' or a 'righty'. However, they add that these developmental divergences are more complicated than originally thought.

"Some scale-eaters start off with balanced mouths, and others do not. So, what happens as these symmetrical fish get older: do they develop asymmetries due to lateralized foraging behaviors? Do they develop asymmetries due to lateralized growth? Do they die because they are not effective hunters?" debates researcher Craig Albertson. He continues, "All three are possible, but we do not have data to support any one of these scenarios. It would seem, however, that in this group an innate, genetically-determined left/right difference has been accentuated to enable a bizarre predatory life style."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Thomas A Stewart and R. Craig Albertson. Evolution of a unique predatory feeding apparatus: functional anatomy, development and a genetic locus for jaw laterality in Lake Tanganyika scale-eating cichlids. BMC Biology, 2010; (in press)

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Lopsided fish show that symmetry is only skin deep." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100125192018.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2010, February 1). Lopsided fish show that symmetry is only skin deep. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100125192018.htm
BioMed Central. "Lopsided fish show that symmetry is only skin deep." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100125192018.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) Learn how to make a mixed green salad topped with a pan-seared camembert cheese in only a minute! Music: Courtesy of Audio Network. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) It looks like this 2-month-old Husky puppy and the family ferret are going to be the best of friends. Look at how much fun they&apos;re having together! Credit to &apos;Vira&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Buzz60 (Jan. 26, 2015) Swiss scientists build a new drone that can both fly and walk, modeling it after the movements of common vampire bats. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins