Conversely, great differences in appearance can suggest a very distant relationship, as in many adult marine fish species. For the first time, however, a Smithsonian scientist has found that color patterns of different fish species in the larval stage can be very similar, revealing a closer evolutionary relationship than their adult forms would suggest. The research is published in the July issue of the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.
While the adult forms of these five labriformes species look different from one another as adults, here in their larval stage they are all very similar.
A: Halichoeres bivittatus
B: Halichoeres garnoti
C: Halichoeres maculipinna
D: Halichoeres poeyi
E: Thalassoma bifasciatum
Credit: Photos A−C by Julie Mounts and David Smith; D, E by Lee Weigt and Carole Baldwin.
Many marine fish species spend their larval stage near the ocean's surface¯an environment completely different than the one they are in as adults. Two different environments often require two different body shapes and appearances, resulting in fish in their larval stage that bear little to no resemblance to their adult counterparts.
Carole Baldwin, a zoologist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, examined more than 200 species of marine fishes in their larval stage, primarily from the western Caribbean. She found that in many cases larval color patterns of different species were very similar, contributing evidence to a phylogenic relationship.
"Biologists, artists and tropical fish aquarists have described, illustrated or photographed color patterns in adult marine fishes for centuries, but color patterns in marine fish larvae have largely been neglected," said Baldwin. "Yet the larval stages of many marine fishes have subtle to striking, ephemeral color patterns that can potentially tell us a lot about a species' place on the taxonomic family tree."
Adult mullets, for instance, are very different in appearance than adult flying fish, yet when Baldwin examined these fishes in the larval stage she noticed that they share a unique transformation of color pattern that supports the idea that they could be closely related. Larvae of some species in the order Tetraodontiforme, like the pufferfish, and those in the order Lophiiforme, like the anglerfish, are strikingly similar in having the trunks of their bodies enclosed in an inflated yellow sac. Their appearance as adults, however, would not hint at a close relationship.
"More investigation of larval color patterns in marine fish is needed to fully assess their value in phylogenic reconstruction," said Baldwin. "But the evidence I've found so far is promising that this will be an important taxonomic resource in the future."
Color information on many more marine fish larvae is needed to fully use this new suite of evolutionary information, and Baldwin will encourage colleagues to obtain color photographs of larvae when possible. And studies on the formation of pigment, such as those conducted on the model freshwater zebrafish (Danio species), are needed.
John Gibbons | EurekAlert!
Molecular evolution: How the building blocks of life may form in space
26.04.2018 | American Institute of Physics
Multifunctional bacterial microswimmer able to deliver cargo and destroy itself
26.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Intelligente Systeme
Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...
At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
26.04.2018 | Life Sciences
26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering