Evol Ecol Res 10: 537-558 (2008) Full PDF if your library subscribes.
Differences in otolith morphologies between surface- and cave-dwelling populations of Poecilia mexicana (Teleostei, Poeciliidae) reflect adaptations to life in an extreme habitat
Tanja Schulz-Mirbach,1* Christoph Stransky,2 Jürgen Schlickeisen2 and Bettina Reichenbacher1
1Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Palaeontology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Richard-Wagner-Str. 10, D-80333 Munich and 2Federal Research Centre for Fisheries, Institute for Sea Fisheries, Palmaille 9, D-22767 Hamburg, Germany
Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
Questions: Do otolith morphologies differ between surface- and cave-dwelling forms of Poecilia mexicana? Do otolith contours show differences between populations and do they display a morphological gradient from the cave outflow to the innermost cave chamber?
Organism: Surface- and cave-dwelling forms of a freshwater fish, the Atlantic molly (Poecilia mexicana).
Field sites: Two sites in the sulphidic cave system Cueva del Azufre in Tabasco, Southern Mexico, and two sites outside the cave – the cave outflow and a freshwater brook.
Methods: We analysed otolith morphology using scanning electron microscopy and otolith contours by Fourier shape analysis (N = 67).
Results: The otoliths of the cave form of P. mexicana are heavier and have a deeper sulcus (= furrow on the inner otolith face) than those of surface dwellers. Otolith contours show a morphological gradient that concurs with the morphocline of other traits (e.g. eye size).
Keywords: cave fish, hearing adaptation, morphocline, otolith, sulcus morphology.
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