Morphological Indicators of Olfactory Capability in Wobbegong Sharks (Orectolobidae, Elasmobranchii)

Theiss, S. M., Hart, N. S. and Collin, S. P. (2009) Morphological Indicators of Olfactory Capability in Wobbegong Sharks (Orectolobidae, Elasmobranchii). Brain Behavior and Evolution, 73 2: 91-101. doi:10.1159/000209865

Author Theiss, S. M.
Hart, N. S.
Collin, S. P.
Title Morphological Indicators of Olfactory Capability in Wobbegong Sharks (Orectolobidae, Elasmobranchii)
Journal name Brain Behavior and Evolution   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0006-8977
Publication date 2009-03
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1159/000209865
Volume 73
Issue 2
Start page 91
End page 101
Total pages 11
Editor W Wilczynsk
Place of publication Basel, Switzerland
Publisher S. Kargar AG
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject C1
830102 Aquaculture Fin Fish (excl. Tuna)
110906 Sensory Systems
060805 Animal Neurobiology
060409 Molecular Evolution
Abstract Elasmobranchs are thought to possess an acute sense of smell, but the relationship between the anatomy of their olfactory organs and their sensory ecology is poorly understood. Moreover, the ecological diversity of elasmobranchs as a group indicates that there might be considerable interspecific variation in the importance of the olfactory sense. Wobbegong sharks, with their sedentary lifestyle and ambush predatory technique, probably utilize their senses differently than other shark species, making it difficult to generalize about their olfactory capabilities and olfaction-dependent behaviors. In this study, the number of olfactory lamellae and the surface area of the olfactory epithelium were measured as a means of assessing relative olfactory sensitivity in four species of wobbegong shark (the Western wobbegong, Orectolobus hutchinsi; the spotted wobbegong, O. maculatus; the ornate wobbegong, O. ornatus; and the dwarf spotted wobbegong, O. parvimaculatus). We also present a phylogenetic comparative analysis between wobbegongs and other elasmobranchs for which published data on olfactory morphology are available. There is a significant difference in the total number of olfactory lamellae between most species, but not between O. hutchinsi and O. maculatus, although the olfactory sensory surface area is comparable between these two species and O. ornatus. Orectolobus parvimaculatus has a significantly larger olfactory sensory surface area than the other three species, and there is a positive relationship between total body length and olfactory sensory surface area for all four species. Assuming that these morphological measures are true indications of olfactory capability, the olfactory abilities of wobbegongs are as good as, or better than, other benthic elasmobranchs. Interspecific differences in olfactory ability within this group of benthic ambush predators could indicate relative differences in prey detection, intraspecific recognition and mate detection. Copyright (C) 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel
Keyword Olfaction
Sensory ecology
Olfactory epithelium
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Biomedical Sciences Publications
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 11 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 10 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Mon, 07 Sep 2009, 14:38:00 EST by Cameron Harris on behalf of School of Biomedical Sciences