Meeting Abstract

P1-272  Thursday, Jan. 5 15:30 - 17:30  Assessing the convergence of feeding kinematics in labrid cleaner fishes BERNSTEIN, Z*; SUNDARAM, S; BALIGA, VB; MEHTA, RS; Pacific Collegiate High School; Monta Vista High School; Univ. of California, Santa Cruz; Univ. of California, Santa Cruz

Convergent evolution is the process by which distantly-related taxa independently evolve similar traits, often due to similar environmental pressures. The purpose of our study is to determine whether a similar suite of traits evolves each time an ecological pattern evolves. Cleaning behavior, a mutualistic relationship wherein a species will remove and consume ectoparasites from the bodies of other organisms, has evolved numerous times in the marine teleost family Labridae (wrasses, parrotfishes, and weed whitings). While the functional morphology of feeding in some labrid cleaners has been examined, whether cleaner fish exhibit convergence in feeding behavior has yet to be analyzed. By assessing kinematic traits via phylogenetic comparative methods, we aim to understand how certain ecological processes affect the evolution of kinematic traits. For this purpose, we filmed lateral views (1000 frames/second) of 21 species of the Labridae family (10 cleaner and 11 non-cleaners) during feeding on suspended prey items. Our kinematic analysis revealed that cleaner fishes exhibit small magnitudes in the timing and displacement variables for cranial elevation, lower jaw rotation, and premaxillary jaw protrusion. When placed in a phylogenetic comparative context, labrid cleaner fishes exhibit convergent evolution in feeding behavior.