Are the oral teeth of combtooth bennies (Salariini: Teleostei) merely combs?

Christiansen, Nicole A., Kemp, Anne and Tibbetts, Ian R. (2010) Are the oral teeth of combtooth bennies (Salariini: Teleostei) merely combs?. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 87 3: 205-216. doi:10.1007/s10641-010-9588-y

Author Christiansen, Nicole A.
Kemp, Anne
Tibbetts, Ian R.
Title Are the oral teeth of combtooth bennies (Salariini: Teleostei) merely combs?
Formatted title
Are the oral teeth of combtooth bennies (Salariini: Teleostei) merely combs?
Journal name Environmental Biology of Fishes   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0378-1909
Publication date 2010-03
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10641-010-9588-y
Volume 87
Issue 3
Start page 205
End page 216
Total pages 12
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Subject C1
960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology)
Formatted abstract
Careful analysis of gut contents has resulted in the reclassification of several species of grazing fish as detritivores, shifting the trophodynamic assignment of many prominent reef grazers. Combtoothed blennies, which are among the most numerous grazing fish of the Great Barrier Reef, have been shown to target the detrital component of the epilithic algal matrix (EAM). It has been suggested that blennies have specialized dental morphology that allows them to comb through fronds of algae, collecting detritus, while leaving the algal component intact. In this study, we analysed the capability of a common reef flat blenny, Salarias fasciatus, to remove algae by (i) examining oral morphology for evidence of wear and adaptations for abrasion, and (ii) a short-term EAM feeding experiment. Examination of S. fasciatus teeth with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed evidence of macrowear (changes in tooth height or shape), microwear (surface chips and striae), and tooth replacement that suggests abrasion on the substrate. Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectrometry (EDS) revealed that oral teeth incorporate mineral iron. When fed artificial substrata with a developed EAM layer S. fasciatus removed 57% of photosynthetic material and 38.5% of organic biomass. Although studies have found that blenny gut contents consist predominantly of detritus, blennies are still likely to contribute to the removal of algae on coral reefs.
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Keyword Blenniidae
Great Barrier Reef
Salarias fasciatus
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
Centre for Marine Studies Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 07 Mar 2010, 00:05:47 EST