Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 299–309 | Cite as

Tube-snouted gymnotiform and mormyriform fishes: convergence of a specialized foraging mode in teleosts

  • Crispulo Marrero
  • Kirk O. Winemiller


African mormyriform and South American gynmotiform fishes are unique among freshwater fishes in their abilities to generate and perceive an electrical field that aids in orientation, prey detection, and communication. Here we present evidence from comparative ecology and morphology that tube-snouted electric fishes of the generaSternarchorhynchus (Apteronotidae) andCampylomormyrus (Mormyridae) may be unique among fishes in their mode of foraging by grasp-suction. The grasp-suction mode of feeding is a specialization for extracting immature stages of aquatic insects that burrow into, or hide within, interstitial spaces and holes in matrices of compacted clay particles that form the channel bottom of many tropical lowland rivers. Ecomorphological implications of the remarkable evolutionary convergence for this specialized mode of foraging by tube-snouted electric fishes provide a challenge to Liem's (1984, 1990) theory of separate aquatic and terrestrial vertebrate feeding modes.

Key words

Africa Diet variability Electrogenesis Electroreception Foraging Neotropics Paleotropics South America 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Crispulo Marrero
    • 1
  • Kirk O. Winemiller
    • 2
  1. 1.Museo de Zoología and Programa de Recursos Naturales RenovablesUNELLEZGuanare, estado PortuguesaVenezuela
  2. 2.Department of Wildlife and Fisheries SciencesTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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