alexa Fish inner ear otolith size and bilateral asymmetry during development
Agri and Aquaculture

Agri and Aquaculture

Fisheries and Aquaculture Journal

Author(s): Ralf H Anken

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Size and bilateral asymmetry (i.e. size difference between the left and the right hand side) of inner ear otoliths of larval mouthbreeding cichlid fish were determined during the ontogenetic development of larvae from hatching to the free swimming stage. Animals of two batches were raised in aquarium hatch baskets. The basket containing one batch was placed directly above aeration equipment, resulting in random water circulation within the basket, which constantly shifted the specimens around (`shifted' specimens). The second batch of animals was raised in parallel without shifting. Due to the weight of the yolk-sacs, these animals lay on their sides until the yolk-sacs were resorbed (`stationary' specimens). The groups of larvae did not differ from one another in respect of individual general development, nor in otolith size. Contrasting results were obtained regarding bilateral otolith asymmetry: In both shifted and stationary animals, asymmetry of utricular and saccular otoliths (lapilli and sagittae, respectively) ranged at comparatively low values throughout development. However, by comparison with shifted individuals, lapillar asymmetry of stationary animals showed a highly significant increase during early development when larvae were forced to lay on their sides due to their prominent yolk-sacs. In later developmental stages, when they began to swim freely, a dramatic decrease in lapillar asymmetry was apparent. These findings indicate that development of lapillar asymmetry depends on the direction of the acting gravity vector relative to the positioning of the larvae, suggesting that the size (or mass) of a given otolith is regulated via a feedback mechanism.

This article was published in Hearing Research and referenced in Fisheries and Aquaculture Journal

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