A Functional Approach to the Development of the Head of Teleosts: Implications on Constructional Morphology and Constraints

  • Karel F. Liem


The relative roles of intrinsic and extrinsic determinants of form in teleost skulls is assessed on the basis of a functional approach to development. The patterns of emerging kinematic connections, changing proportions of structural elements, and their probable functions have been analyzed in phylogenetically closely related lineages with strikingly different modes of development: (1) the oviparous Pomacentridae with free-living larvae subjected to intense environmental selection pressures; (2) the viviparous Embiotocidae which give birth to highly developed juveniles that have been shielded from environmental influences. The developmental patterns in the two groups are very similar. Thus it is suggested that transformations in functional components, changes accompanying the proportional reduction in eye size, and the changes in the functional “hot spots” are governed by internal rules inherited from a common ancestor. It is concluded that internal programmatic rules governing the emergence of morphological variations and transformations and their vitally adaptive functions are inseparably interconnected at the level of the generative process.


Standard Length Coronoid Process Cichlid Fish Suction Feeding Maxillary Process 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karel F. Liem
    • 1
  1. 1.Museum of Comparative ZoologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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