fish motion

Collaborators: Matthew G. McGee; Samuel R. Borstein; Peter C. Wainwright

In modern bony fishes, a major axis of feeding diversity concerns a trade-off between  force application and the speed at which the jaw can open and expand. This research project seeks to evaluate the evolution of feeding motions in a diverse assemblage of African cichlids from lakes Malawi and Tanganyika, where species vary in feeding apparatus morphologies and diets. We are using geometric morphometrics to compare cranial/jaw shapes with patterns of kinesis produced during suction feeding strikes (Fig. 1). Preliminary results suggest that a common axis of cranial morphology is related to the magnitude of kinesis produced, the kinematic efficiency of strikes, and the evasiveness of the fish’s primary dietary item.

fossochromis rostratus lin_nonlin
Figure 1. Sample motion trajectory, displaying the morphological transition from a closed mouth to full gape in the cichlid species Fossochromis rostratus.


Funding Sources:

UC Davis Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship (UCD)

Relevant Publications:

Martinez CM, McGee MD, Borstein SR, Wainwright PC. Accepted. Feeding ecology underlies the evolution of cichlid jaw mobility. Evolution.