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The operculum is a series of bones found in bony fish and chimaeras that serves as a facial support structure and a protective covering for the gills; it is also used for respiration and feeding.
The opercular series contains four bone segments known as the preoperculum, suboperculum, interoperculum and operculum. The preoperculum is a crescent-shaped structure that has a series of ridges directed posterodorsally to the organisms canal pores. The preoperculum can be located through an exposed condyle that is present immediately under its ventral margin; it also borders the operculum, suboperculum, and interoperculum posteriorly. The suboperculum is rectangular in shape in most bony fishy and is located ventral to the preoperculum and operculum components. It is the thinnest bone segment out of the opercular series and is located directly above the gills. The interoperculum is triangular shaped and borders the suboperculum posterodorsally and the preoperculum anterodorsally. This bone is also known to be short on the dorsal and ventral surrounding borders.
During development the opercular series is known to be one of the first bone structures to form. In the three-spined stickleback the opercular series is seen forming at around seven days after fertilization. Within hours the formation of the shape is visible and then the individual components are developed days later. The size and shape of the operculum bone is dependent on the organism's location. For example, fresh water threespine sticklebacks form a less dense and smaller opercular series in relation to marine threespine sticklebacks. The marine threespine stickleback exhibits a larger and thicker opercular series. This provides evidence that there was an evolutionary change in the operculum bone. The thicker and more dense bone may have been favored due to selective pressures exerted from the threespine stickleback's environment. The development of the operculuar series has changed dramatically over time. The fossil record of the threespine stickleback provide the ancestral shapes of the operculum bone. Overall, the operculum bone became more triangular in shape and thicker in size over time.
Genes that are essential in the development of the opercular series is the Eda and Pitx1 genes. These genes are known to be a part of the development and loss of armor plates in gnathostomes. The Endothelin1 pathway is thought to be associated with the development of the operculum bone since it regulates dorsal-ventral patterning of the hyomandibular region. Mutations in Edn1-pathway in zebrafish are known to lead to deformities of the opercular series shape and size.
The opercular series is vital in obtaining oxygen. They open as the mouth closes, causing the pressure inside the fish to drop. Water then flows towards the lower pressure across the fish's gill lamellae, allowing some oxygen to be absorbed from the water. In cartilaginous ratfishes, they present soft and flexible opercular flaps. Sharks, rays and relatives such as elasmobranch fishes lack the opercular series. They instead respire through a series of gill slits that perforate the body wall. Without the operculum bone, other methods of getting water to the gills are required, such as ram ventilation, as used by many sharks.
A gill is a respiratory organ found in many aquatic organisms that extracts dissolved oxygen from water and excretes carbon dioxide. The gills of some species, such as hermit crabs, have adapted to allow respiration on land provided they are kept moist. The microscopic structure of a gill presents a large surface area to the external environment. Branchia is the zoologists' name for gills.
Fish anatomy is the study of the form or morphology of fishes. It can be contrasted with fish physiology, which is the study of how the component parts of fish function together in the living fish. In practice, fish anatomy and fish physiology complement each other, the former dealing with the structure of a fish, its organs or component parts and how they are put together, such as might be observed on the dissecting table or under the microscope, and the latter dealing with how those components function together in living fish.
Aquatic respiration is the process whereby an aquatic animal obtains oxygen from water.
The Atlantic wreckfish,, also known as the stone bass or bass groper, is a marine, bathydemersal, and oceanodromous ray-finned fish in the family Polyprionidae. It has a worldwide, if disjunct, distribution in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Bothriolepis was a widespread, abundant and diverse genus of antiarch placoderms that lived during the Middle to Late Devonian period of the Paleozoic Era. Historically, Bothriolepis resided in an array of paleo-environments spread across every paleocontinent, including near shore marine and freshwater settings. Most species of Bothriolepis were characterized as relatively small, benthic, freshwater detritivores, averaging around 30 centimetres (12 in) in length. However, the largest species, B. rex, had an estimated bodylength of 170 centimetres (67 in). Although expansive with over 60 species found worldwide, comparatively Bothriolepis is not unusually more diverse than most modern bottom dwelling species around today.
This glossary of ichthyology is a list of definitions of terms and concepts used in ichthyology, the study of fishes.
The smoothtooth blacktip shark is a species of requiem shark in the family Carcharhinidae. It is known only from the type specimen caught from the Gulf of Aden, off eastern Yemen, and a handful of additional specimens caught from the Persian Gulf, off Kuwait. Reaching 1.3 m (4.3 ft) in length, this species has a stocky greenish-colored body, a short snout, and black-tipped fins. It can be distinguished from similar species by its teeth, which are narrow, erect, and smooth-edged.
The balloon shark is a species of catshark, and part of the family Scyliorhinidae, endemic to the southwestern Indian Ocean off South Africa and Mozambique. Benthic in nature, it is found over sandy and muddy flats at depths of 40–600 m (130–1,970 ft). This thick-bodied species has a broad, flattened head and a short tail; its distinguishing traits include narrow, lobe-like skin flaps in front of the nostrils, and a dorsal color pattern of faint darker saddles on a light grayish background.
The epaulette shark is a species of longtailed carpet shark, family Hemiscylliidae, found in shallow, tropical waters off Australia and New Guinea. The common name of this shark comes from the very large, white-margined black spot behind each pectoral fin, which are reminiscent of military epaulettes. A small species usually under 1 m (3.3 ft) long, the epaulette shark has a slender body with a short head and broad, paddle-shaped paired fins. The caudal peduncle comprises over half the shark's length. Adults are light brown above, with scattered darker spots and indistinct saddles.
Haploblepharus is a genus of catshark, and part of the family Scyliorhinidae, containing four species of shysharks. Their common name comes from a distinctive defensive behavior in which the shark curls into a circle and covers its eyes with its tail. The genus is endemic to southern Africa, inhabiting shallow coastal waters. All four species are small, stout-bodied sharks with broad, flattened heads and rounded snouts. They are characterized by very large nostrils with enlarged, triangular flaps of skin that reach the mouth, and deep grooves between the nostrils and the mouth. Shysharks are bottom-dwelling predators of bony fishes and invertebrates. They are oviparous, with the females laying egg capsules. These harmless sharks are of no commercial or recreational interest, though their highly limited distributions in heavily fished South African waters are of potential conservation concern.
The cloudy catshark is a common species of catshark, belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae. It is a bottom-dweller that inhabits rocky reefs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, from the shore to a depth of 320 m (1,050 ft). Growing up to 50 cm (20 in) long, this small, slim shark has a narrow head with a short blunt snout, no grooves between the nostrils and mouth, and furrows on the lower but not the upper jaw. It is also characterized by extremely rough skin and coloration consisting of a series of dark brown saddles along its back and tail, along with various darker and lighter spots in larger individuals.
The mouse catshark is a species of catshark and part of the family Scyliorhinidae. It is common in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean from Iceland to Western Sahara. There is much taxonomic confusion regarding this species in Icelandic waters, where it may be confounded with another species of Galeus or Apristurus. Probably not exceeding 49 cm (19 in) long, the mouse catshark has a uniformly brown body and is characterized by large, rounded pelvic fins and crests of enlarged dermal denticles along both the dorsal and ventral caudal fin margins. In addition, in adult males the inner margins of the pelvic fins are merged into an "apron".
The broadfin sawtail catshark is a common species of catshark, part of the family Scyliorhinidae. It is found on or near the bottom at depths of 150–540 m (490–1,770 ft), from southeastern Japan to the East China Sea. A slender species growing to 68 cm (27 in) long, this shark is characterized by a fairly long, pointed snout, a series of indistinct, dark saddles along its back and tail, and a prominent crest of enlarged dermal denticles along the dorsal edge of its caudal fin. In addition, adult males have very long claspers that reach past the anal fin. The broadfin sawtail catshark is an opportunistic predator of bony fishes, cephalopods, and crustaceans, with immature and mature sharks being primarily piscivorous. It is oviparous and reproduces year-round. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) presently lacks the information to assess the conservation status of this species.
Polonosuchus is a genus of rauisuchian known from the late Triassic of Poland. It was a huge predator about 5–6 metres in length and, like all rauisuchians, was equipped with a large head of long sharp teeth. The legs were placed almost underneath the body, unlike most reptiles, which would have made it quite fast and a powerful runner. The appearance was very similar to that of the more known Postosuchus, of North America, and shared with the latter the ecological niche of the apex predator.
Callionymus fasciatus, the banded dragonet, is a species of dragonet native to the Mediterranean Sea from the Gulf of Genoa to the western Aegean Sea. Also known from the southern and eastern Black Sea. It prefers sandy substrates where its diet consists of benthic invertebrates.
Fish are exposed to large oxygen fluctuations in their aquatic environment since the inherent properties of water can result in marked spatial and temporal differences in the concentration of oxygen (see oxygenation and underwater). Fish respond to hypoxia with varied behavioral, physiological, and cellular responses in order to maintain homeostasis and organism function in an oxygen-depleted environment. The biggest challenge fish face when exposed to low oxygen conditions is maintaining metabolic energy balance, as 95% of the oxygen consumed by fish is used for ATP production releasing the chemical energy of O2 through the mitochondrial electron transport chain. Therefore, hypoxia survival requires a coordinated response to secure more oxygen from the depleted environment and counteract the metabolic consequences of decreased ATP production at the mitochondria. This article is a review of the effects of hypoxia on all aspects of fish, ranging from behavior down to genes.
Most bony fishes have two sets of jaws made mainly of bone. The primary oral jaws open and close the mouth, and a second set of pharyngeal jaws are positioned at the back of the throat. The oral jaws are used to capture and manipulate prey by biting and crushing. The pharyngeal jaws, so-called because they are positioned within the pharynx, are used to further process the food and move it from the mouth to the stomach.
Fins are usually the most distinctive anatomical features of a fish. They are composed of bony spines or rays protruding from the body with skin covering them and joining them together, either in a webbed fashion, as seen in most bony fish, or similar to a flipper, as seen in sharks. Apart from the tail or caudal fin, fish fins have no direct connection with the spine and are supported only by muscles. Their principal function is to help the fish swim.
Fish gills are organs that allow fish to breathe underwater. Most fish exchange gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide using gills that are protected under gill covers (operculum) on both sides of the pharynx (throat). Gills are tissues that are like short threads, protein structures called filaments. These filaments have many functions including the transfer of ions and water, as well as the exchange of oxygen, carbon dioxide, acids and ammonia. Each filament contains a capillary network that provides a large surface area for exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Fish physiology is the scientific study of how the component parts of fish function together in the living fish. It can be contrasted with fish anatomy, which is the study of the form or morphology of fishes. In practice, fish anatomy and physiology complement each other, the former dealing with the structure of a fish, its organs or component parts and how they are put together, such as might be observed on the dissecting table or under the microscope, and the later dealing with how those components function together in the living fish.