Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 6, Issue 3–4, pp 257–268 | Cite as

Prey capture by Luciocephalus pulcher: implications for models of jaw protrusion in teleost fishes

  • George V. Lauder
  • Karel F. Liem


Luciocephalus pulcher possesses one of the most protrusible jaws known among teleosts, the premaxillae extending anteriorly a distance of 33% of the head length during feeding. Jaw bone movement during feeding proceeds according to a stereotypical pattern and resembles that of other teleosts except for extreme cranial elevation and premaxillary protrusion. Anatomical specializations associated with cranial elevation include: a highly modified first vertebra with a separate neural spine, articular fossae on the posterior aspect, greatly enlarged zygapophyses on the second vertebra with complex articular condyles, and highly pinnate multi-layered epaxial musculature with multiple tendinous insertions on the skull.

Luciocephalus, despite the extreme jaw protrusion, does not use suction during prey capture: rather, the prey is captured by a rapid lunge (peak velocity of about 150 cm per sec) and is surrounded by the open mouth. Previous hypotheses of the function of upper jaw protrusion are reviewed in relation to jaw movements inLuciocephalus. Protrusion is not obligatorily linked with suction feeding; behavioral aspects of the feeding process limit the possible range of biological roles of a given morphological specialization, and make prediction of role from structure risky.


Functional morphology Vertebral column Suction feeding Jaw protrusion Feeding 


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Copyright information

© Dr. W. Junk Publishers 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • George V. Lauder
    • 1
  • Karel F. Liem
    • 1
  1. 1.The Museum of Comparative ZoologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeU.S.A.

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