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Vertebrates (subphylum vertebrata)

Possess a backbone (aka vertebral column, spine) Vertebrae=Dorsal row of hollow skeletal elements (usually bone) Nerve cord=spinal cord, protected by vertebrae, (part of nervous system), ends in brain Bilateral symmetry, endoskeleton

Fish Form & Function Goals for this lab

Learn about fish: Topics
Skin/scales Coloration Locomotion Fins Muscles

Discuss 3 classes of fish Dissect different fish- up to 3 different forms Write paper comparing different fish forms
Due next Monday/Tuesday Details to follow

Global Habitats



Fish importance

Appeared > 500 mya Comprise half of vertebrate species Feed on all types of marine organisms some organisms previously discussed use fish as their home (bacteria to crustaceans) Some animals eat fish Most economically important marine organism Vital source of protein to millions of humans Ground up for chicken feed, fertilizer, leather, glue, vitamins obtained from them Some kept as pets

Fish Morphology


Swimming Locomotion


Organ of the body Consists of connective tissue Muscles pull against skin tissue & skeleton
Key component of the muscle-tendon-tail fin system

Epidermis Typically 250 m thick 10-30 cell layers Range 20 m 3 mm Dermis

Fish Skin
Hold fish together
Serves as barrier against abrasive agents Osmoregulation (what does this mean?) Permeable respiratory function Biomechanical properties in sharks

Fish Skin
Mucous formed in epidermis cells

Protect against infection

Constantly shed to remove bacteria and fungus Ex. Clingfish lack scales, protect their bodies by a thick layer of mucous

Bone is also skin derivative

scales, most important

Fish Scales
First appear as dermal bone Found in fossil of Cambrian period (570 mya)

Layered bone, solid armor-constrained movement

Evolved smaller and reduced into scales 5 types of scales (examples with images to follow)

Cosmoid Ganoid Cycloid Ctenoid

Fish Scales: Placoid

Found in elasmobranchs (sharks & rays) teeth like, same composition

As fish grows, do not increase in size, instead new scales are added

Fish Scales: Cosmoid

In the Sarcopterygii (fish with fleshy lobe fins), primitive fish

Less evolved than Elasmobranchs and Actinopterygii (fish with rayed fins)

Scales found in fossil record but not in any living fish,

Except in simplified version of coelocanth and lungfish

Fish Scales: Ganoid

In primitive Actinopterygii Found in reedfish, polypterus, gar, bowfin, and sturgeons Were thick heavy scales when first appeared Rhomboid-shaped Developed into teleost scales

Fish Scales: Teleost scales

Two types: Ctenoid-higher fish

Cycloid-soft-rayed, anchovies, sardine

Mineralized surface layer & inner collagenous layer
Ctenoid scales

Scales surrounded by dermis, in dermal pockets

Grow from top, bottom, and insides; overlap lower part Scales grow with fish Characterized by concentric ridges (growth increments)
Cycloid scales


Fish display a multitude of patterns involving 2 or more colors, in many tints and shades, arranged in spots, stripes, patches, and blotches 3 Types of coloration predominant in oceans Silver pelagic, upper zone

Red deeper zone (~ 500 m)

Black or violet deep sea Countershaded near shore and colorful in coral reefs

Chromatophores Colored cells from which light is reflected off

Located in the skin (dermis), eyes

Various colors/hues-combination of different chromatophores Functional Roles of Colors in Fishes-examples of each to follow Social Roles Advertisement

Hiding Protection from sun (especially larvae)

Coloration: Social roles

Cleaner Fish: distinctive markings recognized by larger fish

Advertisement: Bright, bold and showy males indicate:

Reproductive availability, either permanently or seasonally, e.g. cichlids, wrasses, minnows, sunfish
Unpalatable or venomous, e.g. lionfishes

Mimicry Disguise: Disguises: look like something in habitat, e.g. leaffish, sargasso fish Mimicry: mimic distasteful species

Coloration: Concealment
General color resemblance resemble background

Variable color resemblance change with background, e.g. flatfish

Obliterative shading countershading, dark above, light below (invisible fish) Disruptive coloration disruptive contours that breakup outline; bold stripes, bars, false eye spots Coincident disruptive coloration joining together of unrelated parts of the body to reduce recognition; e.g. sea dragon


Most luminous fish found 300-1000 m depths, few shallow 3 Types of light producing methods: Self-luminous (on/off) Symbiotic bacteria nurtured in special glands Acquire from other bioluminescent organisms- diet contains light-emitting compounds Function: Concealment by counter-illumination - ventral placement matches background from above, against attack from below Dorsal photophores safeguard against predators from above Advertisement for courting, maintaining territory, to startle and confuse predators, and feeding

Fish Locomotion
Means of Locomotion: Simplest form: Passive drifting of larval fish

Many can:
Burrow Walk, hop, or crawl

Fly Most can: Swim in a variety of ways

Types of fins:


Paired fins: pectoral and pelvic Median fins: dorsal, caudal, anal, & adipose

Main functions: Swimming increase surface area w/o increasing mass Stabilizers yaw, stability-dorsal and anal fins - brake, pitch, roll, reverse -pectoral/pelvic

thrust with caudal fin

Modifications in fins: Defense spines, enlarge fish Locomotion modified for crawling, flying, gliding Hunting lures, sensory organs

Respiratory organ lungfish, supply oxygen to eggs

Soft rays vs. Spines

Soft rays: Usually soft and not pointed Segmented Usually branched Bilateral, w/left and right halves

Spines: Usually hard and pointed

Unbranched Solid

Fish Muscles
Muscles provide power for swimming Myomers=bands of muscle, run along sides of body, attached to backbone Constitute up to 80% of the fish itself Much hardly used except during emergencies Dont have to contend with same effect of gravity Fish muscle arrangement not suitable on land Cow: 30% muscle/wt Tuna: 60% muscle/wt Contraction causes oscillation of body and tail Body bends as one side contracts b/c of an incompressible notochord or vertebral column Caused by bands of muscle = myomeres

Fish Muscles
Major fibers (see handout): Red, pink, and white Pink intermediate between red and white Muscle types do not intermingle Different motor systems used for different swimming conditions Red cruising White short duration, burst swimming Pink sustained swimming, used after red and before white

Fish-Body shapes-see textbook for images (Figure 8.9)

Fusiform-spindle shaped, e.g. tuna

Compressiform-laterally compressed, angelfish, butterfly fish


Filiform-even smaller anguilliform, e.g. snipe eel

Body shapes continued

Depressiform-flatfish, rays, flounder Taeniform-gunnel Sagittiform-e.g. pike

Globiform-e.g. lumpsucker

Fish Locomotion
Swimming classified into 2 generic categories: Periodic (or steady or sustained)- e.g. running marathons, for covering large distance at constant speed Transient (or unsteady) e.g. like running sprints, used for catching prey or avoiding predators

Isolate and move only fin(s)


Rajiform - pectoral Diodontiform - pectoral Labriform -pectoral oscillate


Gymnotiform -anal


Amiiform -dorsal

Tetraodontiform anal+dorsal Balistiform anal+dorsal

Flex caudal portion, fast swimmers


Ostraciform-rigid body, caudal main propulsion Thunniform-rigid body, caudal main propulsion

Undulate the body: eels, elongate fish




Tuna: Ultimate Living Swimming Machine

Swim continuously feeding, courtship, rest, reproduction

Tuna: Ultimate Living Swimming Machine hydrodynamic adaptations

Big size-high performance engine Streamlining-spindle shaped & rigid body Small structures at various parts of the body to improve swimming efficiency and reduce drag, e.g.
Eyes flush with body dont protrude

Adipose eyelid - smooth, reduce drag

Depression grooves for dorsal, pelvic, & pectoral fins at high speed Keeled peduncle - cutting through water Finlets for cross-flow - delayed separation

Tuna: Ultimate Living Swimming Machine

Must swim to survive: No gas bladder, rigid body, ram ventilation High blood volume, large heart, maintain warm core (25oC) School to utilize vortices generated by other fish (~like race car driver who slipstreams and then slingshots past Slipstream: The area of reduced leading car) pressure or forward suction Adopt swim-glide for energy savings (like birds)
produced by and immediately behind a fast-moving object as it moves through air or water.

High narrow tails propulsion with least effort, used to design efficient propulsion systems for ships

Fish-mouth types (some)

Large mouth with teeth (e.g. barracuda) Long snout/small mouth (e.g. butterfly fish)

Protrusible mouth (e.g. slipmouth)

Beak-like mouth (e.g. parrotfish)

Large mouth (e.g. herrings)

Three Classes: Agnatha


Class Agnatha
Jawless fishes Ex. Hagfish, lampreys No paired fins Gill holes, no slits or operculum

Large sucking mouth with teeth

Scavengers As a defense mechanism, secrete slime then tie itself in knots to escape predators Also tie in knots for pulling food off carcasses, and cleaning slime from body

Class Agnatha
Hagfishs mouth

Class Chondricthyes
Sharks and rays Skeleton = cartilage, not bone Paired fins-efficient swimming Gill slits exposed, no operculum Large oil-filled liver Heterocercal tail (upper longer than lower lobe) Placoid scales-skin like sandpaper

Class Osteichthyes
Bony fish
Largest group of living vertebrates Bones for skeletons

Gill covering (operculum)

Swim bladder (balloon-like) Homocercal tails (even) Cycloid & Ctenoid scales