Meeting Abstract

32.1  Thursday, Jan. 5  Morays de-couple feeding and respiration via a parabranchial pouch MEHTA, Rita/S*; POLLARD, Rachel/E; Univ. of California, Santa Cruz; Univ. of California, Davis

Moray eels are the only reported example of a teleost where the behaviors of feeding and respiration are decoupled. Moreover, the evolution of a specialized prey capture and transport strategy is associated with a reduction in suction ability. Past anatomical studies have pointed out the derived branchial arch morphology in morays but little work has investigated how these differences relate to respiratory movements. We used gross dissections and videofluoroscopy to study the skull and axial movements of the green moray, Gymnothorax funebris, during respiration. We found that the branchial basket is enclosed in a compartment, which we refer to as the parabranchial pouch. The deep wall of the parabranchial pouch is comprised of the gill arches and a highly vascularized membrane, the parabranchial membrane. The medial sides of the gill arches attach to the branchial membrane which separate the arches from the buccopharyngeal cavity. Kinematic analyses resulted in the partitioning of moray respiratory mechanics into the familiar two-phase pump model for teleosts proposed by Hughes and Shelton (1958). However, due to the large differences in moray branchial anatomy in relation to other teleosts, we propose an alternative model for moray eel respiration. In this alternative model, the bucco-pharyngeal and parabranchial pouch are treated as a single unit that deforms in shape pulling in and pushing out fluid much like a bellows.