Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 47–62 | Cite as

Ecomorphology of Locomotion in Labrid Fishes

  • Peter C. Wainwright
  • David R. Bellwood
  • Mark W. Westneat
Article

Abstract

The Labridae is an ecologically diverse group of mostly reef associated marine fishes that swim primarily by oscillating their pectoral fins. To generate locomotor thrust, labrids employ the paired pectoral fins in motions that range from a fore-aft rowing stroke to a dorso-ventral flapping stroke. Species that emphasize one or the other behavior are expected to benefit from alternative fin shapes that maximize performance of their primary swimming behavior. We document the diversity of pectoral fin shape in 143 species of labrids from the Great Barrier Reef and the Caribbean. Pectoral fin aspect ratio ranged among species from 1.12 to 4.48 and showed a distribution with two peaks at about 2.0 and 3.0. Higher aspect ratio fins typically had a relatively long leading edge and were narrower distally. Body mass only explained 3% of the variation in fin aspect ratio in spite of four orders of magnitude range and an expectation that the advantages of high aspect ratio fins and flapping motion are greatest at large body sizes. Aspect ratio was correlated with the angle of attachment of the fin on the body (r = 0.65), indicating that the orientation of the pectoral girdle is rotated in high aspect ratio species to enable them to move their fin in a flapping motion. Field measures of routine swimming speed were made in 43 species from the Great Barrier Reef. Multiple regression revealed that fin aspect ratio explained 52% of the variation in size-corrected swimming speed, but the angle of attachment of the pectoral fin only explained an additional 2%. Labrid locomotor diversity appears to be related to a trade-off between efficiency of fast swimming and maneuverability in slow swimming species. Slow swimmers typically swim closer to the reef while fast swimmers dominate the water column and shallow, high-flow habitats. Planktivory was the most common trophic associate with high aspect ratio fins and fast swimming, apparently evolving six times.

pectoral fin aspect ratio Labridae allometry convergent evolution swimming speed 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References cited

  1. Baudinette, R.V. & P. Gill. 1985. The energetics of ‘flying’ and ‘paddling’ in water: locomotion in penguins and ducks. J. Comp. Physiol. B155: 373–380.Google Scholar
  2. Bellwood, D.R. 1994. A phylogenetic study of the parrotfishes family Scaridae (Pisces: Labroidei), with a revision of genera. Rec. Aust. Mus. Suppl. No. 20: 1–84.Google Scholar
  3. Bellwood, D.R. 1995a. Direct estimate of bioerosion by two parrotfish species Chlorurus gibbus and Chlorurus sordidus on the Great Barrier Reef. Mar. Biol. 121: 419–430.Google Scholar
  4. Bellwood, D.R. 1995b. Carbonate transport and intrareefal patterns of bioerosion and sediment release by parrotfishes (family Scaridae) on the Great Barrier Reef. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 117: 127–136.Google Scholar
  5. Bellwood, D.R. 1996. Production and reworking of sediment by parrotfishes (family Scaridae), on the Great Barrier Reef, Aust. Mar. Biol. 125: 795–800.Google Scholar
  6. Bellwood, D.R. & J. H. Choat. 1990. A functional analysis of grazing in parrotfishes (family Scaridae): the ecological implications. Env. Biol. Fish. 28: 189–214.Google Scholar
  7. Bellwood, D.R. & P.C. Wainwright. 2001. Swimming ability in labrid fishes: implications for habitat use and cross-shelf distribution on the Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs 20: 139–150.Google Scholar
  8. Bernardi, G., D.R. Robertson, D.R., K. E. Clifton & E. Azzurro. 2000. Molecular systematics, zoogeography, and evolutionary ecology of the Atlantic parrotfish genus Sparisoma. Mol. Phylogen. Evol. 15: 292–300.Google Scholar
  9. Blake, R.W. 1979. The mechanics of labriform locomotion I. Labriform locomotion in the angelfish (Pterophyllum eimekei): an analysis of the power stroke. J. Exp. Biol. 82: 255–271.Google Scholar
  10. Blake, R.W. 1981. Influence of pectoral fin shape on thrust and drag in labriform locomotion. J. Zool., Lond. 194: 53–66.Google Scholar
  11. Choat, J.H. 1991. The biology of herbivorous fishes on coral reefs. pp. 120–155. In: P.F. Sale (ed.) The Ecology of Fishes on Coral Reefs, Academic Press, San Diego.Google Scholar
  12. Daniel, T.L. 1988. Forward flapping flight from flexible fins. Can. J. Zool. 66: 630–638.Google Scholar
  13. Darlington, R.B. 1990. Multiple regression and linear models. McGraw-Hill, New York. 213 pp.Google Scholar
  14. Davenport, J., S.A. Munks & P.J. Oxford. 1984. A comparison of the swimming of marine and freshwater turtles. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B220: 447–475.Google Scholar
  15. Drucker, E.G. & G.V. Lauder 1999b. Locomotor forces on a swimming fish: three-dimensional vortex wake dynamics quantified using digital particle image velocimetry. J. Exp. Biol. 202: 2393–2412.Google Scholar
  16. Fish, F.E. 1992. Aquatic locomotion. pp. 34–63. In: T.E. Tomasi & T.H. Horton (ed.) Mammalian Energetics: interdisciplinary Views of Metabolism and Reproduction, Cornell University Press, Ithaca.Google Scholar
  17. Fish, F.E. 1996. Transitions from drag-based to lift-based propulsion in mammalian swimming. Amer. Zool. 36: 628–641.Google Scholar
  18. Fulton, C.J. & D.R. Bellwood. 2002. Ontogenetic habitat use in labrid fishes: an ecomorphological perspective. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 266: 135–142.Google Scholar
  19. Fulton, C.J., D.R. Bellwood & P.C. Wainwright. 2001. The relationship between swimming ability and habitat use in wrasses (family Labridae). Mar. Biol. 139: 25–33.Google Scholar
  20. Gomon, M.F. 1997. Relationships of fishes of the labrid tribe Hypsigenyini. Bull. Mar. Sci. 60: 789–871.Google Scholar
  21. Hobson, E.S. 1974. Feeding relationships of teleost fishes on coral reefs in Kona, Hawaii. U.S. Fish. Bull. 72: 915–1031.Google Scholar
  22. Hobson, E.S. & J.R. Chess. 1978. Trophic relationships among fishes and plankton in the lagoon at Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands. U.S. Fish. Bull. 76: 133–153.Google Scholar
  23. James, F.C. & C.E. McCulloch. 1990. Multivariate-analysis in ecology and systematics – panacea or Pandora's box. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 21: 129–166.Google Scholar
  24. McGehee, M.A. 1994. Correspondence between assemblages of coral reef fishes and gradients of water motion, depth and substrate size off Puerto Rico. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 105: 243–255.Google Scholar
  25. Pedzazur, E.J. 1982. Multiple regression in behavioral research, 2nd ed. Harcourt Brace, Fort Worth. 367 pp.Google Scholar
  26. Randall, J.E. 1967. Food habits of reef fishes of the West Indies. Stud. Trop. Oceanogr. 5: 655–847.Google Scholar
  27. Randall, J.E. 1983. Caribbean reef fishes. T.F.H., Neptune City. 350 pp.Google Scholar
  28. Randall, J.E., G.E. Allen & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Publishers, Bathurt. 557 pp.Google Scholar
  29. Russell, B.C. & J. E. Randall. 1980. The labrid fish genus Pseudolabrus from islands of the southeastern Pacific, with description of a new species from Rapa. Pac. Sci. 34: 433–443.Google Scholar
  30. Thom, A. & P. Swart. 1940. The forces on an aerofoil at very low speeds. J. Roy. Aero. Soc. 44: 761–770.Google Scholar
  31. Vogel, S. 1994. Life inmoving fluids, 2nd ed. Princeton University Press, Princeton. 467 pp.Google Scholar
  32. Wainwright, P.C. 1988. Morphology and ecology: the functional basis of feeding constraints in Caribbean labrid fishes. Ecology 69: 635–645.Google Scholar
  33. Walker, J.A. & M.W. Westneat. 1997. Labriform propulsion in fishes: kinematics of flapping aquatic flight in the bird wrasse Gomphosus varius (Labridae) J. Exp. Biol. 200: 1549–1569.Google Scholar
  34. Walker, J.A. & M.W. Westneat. 2000. Mechanical performance of aquatic rowing and flying. Trans. Roy. Roy. Soc. Lond. B. 267: 1875–1881.Google Scholar
  35. Walker, J.A. & M.W. Westneat. 2002. Pectoral fin design and swimming performance in labriform propulsion: a comparison between rowers and flappers. J. Exp. Biol. 205: 177–187.Google Scholar
  36. Warner, R.R. & D.R. Robertson. 1978. Sexual patterns of the labroid fishes of the western Caribbean, I: the wrasses (Labridae). Smith. Contrib. Zool. 254: 1–27.Google Scholar
  37. Webb, P.W. 1998. Swimming. pp. 3–24. In: D.H. Evans (ed.) The Physiology of Fishes, 2nd ed. CRC, Boca Raton.Google Scholar
  38. Webb, P.W. & R.W. Blake. 1985. Swimming. pp. 110–128. In: M. Hildebrand, D. M. Bramble, K. F. Liem & D. B. Wake (ed.) Functional Vertebrate Morphology, Harvard University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  39. Westneat, M.W. 1996. Functional morphology of aquatic flight in fishes: kinematics, electromyography, and mechanical modeling of labriform locomotion. Amer. Zool. 36: 582–598.Google Scholar
  40. Westneat M.W. & J.A. Walker. 1997. Motor patterns of labriform locomotion: kinematic and electromyographic analysis of pectoral fin swimming in the labrid fish Gomphosus varius. J. Exp. Biol. 200: 1881–1893.Google Scholar
  41. Westneat, M.W. 1993. Phylogenetic relationships of the tribe Cheilinini (Labridae: Perciformes). Bull. Mar. Sci. 52: 351–394.Google Scholar
  42. Westneat, M.W. 1995. Feeding, function and phylogeny: analysis of historical biomechanics in labrid fishes using comparative methods. Syst. Biol. 44: 361–383.Google Scholar
  43. Wyneken, J. 1997. Sea turtle locomotion: mechanics, behavior, and energetics. pp. 165-198. In: P.L. Lutz & J.A. Musick (ed.) The Biology of Sea Turtles, CRC Press, Boca Raton.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter C. Wainwright
    • 1
  • David R. Bellwood
    • 2
  • Mark W. Westneat
    • 3
  1. 1.Section of Evolution and EcologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisU.S.A.
  2. 2.Centre for Coral Reef Biodiversity, Department of Marine BiologyJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  3. 3.Department of ZoologyField Museum of Natural HistoryChicagoU.S.A

Personalised recommendations