, Volume 121, Issue 4, pp 573-580

Species-specific patterns of hyperostosis in marine teleost fishes

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Abstract

The occurrence of swollen or hyperostotic bones in skeletal preparations, preserved museum material or whole fresh specimens of marine teleost fishes was identified in 92 species belonging to 22 families. Patterns of hyperostotic skeletal growth were typically consistent and often species-specific in all individuals larger than a certain size. The taxonomic distribution of hyperostosis in diverse phylogenetic groups suggests that it has arisen independently many times. Selected bones from two species of the family Carangidae, horse-eye jack Caranx latus Agassiz and crevalle jack Caranx hippos (Linnaeus), were examined in detail by light and electron microscopy. Nonhyperostotic bone contained osteoid-producing osteoblasts, resorbing osteoclasts, occasional osteocytes, and a rich vascular network, all characteristics of cellular bone. Thus, these fishes have a spatial juxtaposition of cellular and acellular bone tissues in adjacent and often serially homologous bone sites. The functional significance of hyperostosis is unknown, but it is a predictable manifestation of bone growth and development for the many taxa in which it occurs.

Communicated by J. P. Grassle, New Brunswick