Function of the Free Neuromasts of Marine Teleost Larvae

  • John H. S. Blaxter
  • Lee A. Fuiman


Most species of marine teleosts have very small transparent larvae at hatching, with total lengths from about 1.5 to 8 mm. The eyes may or may not be pigmented at this time, but they always become functional when the larvae commence feeding a few hours to a few days after hatching.Feeding seems to be mainly a visual process, and the larvae of only a few species, such as Dover sole, Solea solea, are known to feed in darkness(Blaxter 1969).All species examined have free neuromast organs distributed over the head and body as superficial hillocks. These hillocks, which are very large relative to the body of the larva, have gelatinous cupulae projecting into the surrounding water.Larval neuromasts are well described by Iwai (1980) in several species including the goldfish(Carassius auratus), sea bass (Lateolabrar japonicus), black porgy (Acanthopagrus schlegeli), and right-eye flounder (Kareius bicoloratus).Disler(1971) followed the changes in number and distribution of the free neuromasts during the development of the sturgeon (Acipenser stellatus), chum salmon(Oncorhynchus keta), and several freshwater percids and cyprinids.Later work on gadoids (Fridgeirsson 1978), northern anchovy (Engraulis mordar)(O’Connell 1981), Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus)(Blaxter et al.1983a), Atlantic halibut(Hip-poglossus hippoglossus) (Blaxter et al.1983b), and plaice(Pleuronectesplatessa) and turbot (Scophthalmus marimus)(Neave 1986)confirmed the earlier findings, showing the increase in numbers with age and also the modifications that occur during the metamorphosis of flatfish.


Lateral Line Swimming Speed Chum Salmon Lateral Line System Lateral Line Canal 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • John H. S. Blaxter
  • Lee A. Fuiman

There are no affiliations available

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