Anatomical Specializations (anatomical + specialization)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Morphological characterization of retinal bipolar cells in the marine teleost Rhinecanthus aculeatus

Vincenzo Pignatelli
Abstract The marine teleost Rhinecanthus aculeatus (Balistidae) has recently been shown to posses trichromatic color vision supported by a retinal combination of double and single cones. Double cones are composed of two members with different spectral sensitivity. It is not known whether a correlation exists between the chromatic wiring of double cones to the inner retina and trichromacy, nor how unmixed, chromatic information is extracted from the two members of the couple. In mammalians, bipolar cells determine color segregation by means of the midget system, central to trichromatic color vision; however, midget bipolar cells have never been described in teleosts. On the basis of its likely importance in transferring chromatic photoreceptor signals to the inner retina, we have morphologically characterized the retinal bipolar cell types of R. aculeatus using DiOlistic staining techniques to verify if an anatomical specialization of this group of cells is required to support trichromatic color vision. Thirteen cell types are described: eight putative OFF types and five putative ON types. Of these, four had axonal boutons ramifying in both sublayers (ON and OFF) of the inner plexiform layer, six had terminals restricted to the OFF layer, and three cell types had terminals restricted to the ON layer. Dendritic arbors of bipolar cells had narrower diameters (5,40 ,m) in comparison to bipolar cells of other teleost species; this supports the idea that a low degree of photoreceptor to bipolar convergence is correlated with trichromacy in this retina and possibly with the function of double cones as color receptors. J. Comp. Neurol. 518:3117,3129, 2010. 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Allometry, bilateral asymmetry and sexual differences in the vocal tract of common eiders Somateria mollissima and king eiders S. spectabilis

Edward H. Miller
Intraspecific sexual differences, high variation, and positive allometry of sexually-selected external display structures are common. Many sexually-selected anatomical specializations occur in the avian vocal tract but intraspecific variation and allometry have been investigated little. The tracheal bulla bulla syringealis occurs in males of most duck species. We quantified variation and size-scaling of the bulla, plus sexual differences in size of trachea, bronchi, and vocal muscles, for 62 common eiders Somateria mollissima and 51 king eiders S. spectabilis. Trends were similar in both species. Bullar ossification and definitive size occurred early in life: bullar size did not differ between first-year and older males. Bullar size did not vary more than size of other body parts (CVs of 3.4,7.0% for bullar length and breadth). Bullar size scaled to body size with negative allometry or isometry. Vocal muscles were 10,50% thicker in males than females, a much greater sexual difference than in body size (CVs of 3,6% on linear body-size variables). Vocal muscles were larger on the left side in both sexes and bilateral asymmetry was slightly more pronounced in males. Low variation and a trend towards negative allometry suggest that bullar size is under stabilizing selection; if bullar size affects vocal attributes of voice, then the latter cannot be condition-dependent. We recommend comparative research on vocal communication, vocal individuality and vocal-tract anatomy and function in eiders and other ducks. [source]

Sexual dimorphism of the Weberian apparatus and pectoral girdle in Sundadanio axelrodi (Ostariophysi: Cyprinidae)

K. W. Conway
The miniature cyprinid fish, Sundadanio axelrodi, exhibits extreme sexual dimorphism in the skeleton of the Weberian apparatus, the fifth rib and pectoral girdle. Musculature associated with the fifth rib and Weberian apparatus also shows a high degree of sexual dimorphism. It is suggested that these modifications are responsible for the production of a croaking sound that seems to be restricted to males of the species, based on the lack of any corresponding anatomical specializations in females. [source]

Was the Oligo-Miocene Australian metatherian Yalkaparidon a ,mammalian woodpecker'?

One of the most striking examples of convergent evolution within mammals is the suite of anatomical specializations shared by the primate Daubentonia of Madagascar and the marsupial Dactylopsila of Australia and New Guinea. Having last shared a common ancestor over 125 million years ago, these two genera have independently evolved extremely similar adaptations for feeding on xylophagous (wood-boring) insect larvae. These include enlarged incisors to gouge holes in wood, cranial modifications to strengthen the skull against the stresses generated by wood gouging and elongate manual digits that are used as probes to extract the larvae. Elsewhere in the world, the same ecological niche is filled by birds (woodpeckers or morphologically convergent forms) that use their beaks for wood gouging. An extinct group of eutherian mammals, the apatemyids, exhibit very similar craniodental and postcranial adaptations to Daubentonia and Dactylopsila and presumably also occupied the woodpecker niche. A qualitative analysis of characters of the skull and dentition of the enigmatic Oligo-Miocene Australian metatherian Yalkaparidon, specifically its combination of very large, open-rooted incisors, zalambdodont molars and features to strengthen the skull against rostral bending , supports the hypothesis that it is probably a fourth ,mammalian woodpecker'. Discovery of the (as yet unknown) manus of Yalkaparidon will test this hypothesis by revealing whether any of its digits are elongate. 2009 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2009, 97, 1,17. [source]