Functional Anatomy and Biomechanics of Feeding in Elasmobranchs

Cheryl A D Wilga, Lara Ferry

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

13 Scopus citations


1. General Trophic Morphology 1.1. Skeletal Apparatus1.2. Feeding Musculature1.3. Jaw Suspension Mechanisms1.4. Dentition2. Feeding Behaviors3. Biomechanical Models for Prey Capture 3.1. Feeding Sequence Phases3.2. Suction Feeding Characteristics3.3. Bite Feeding Characteristics4. Modulation of Muscle Activity5. Biomechanical Models for Prey Processing and Transport6. Biomechanics of Filter Feeding7. Biomechanics of Upper Jaw Protrusion8. Ecophysiological PatternsThe morphology of the feeding apparatus in elasmobranchs has evolved a surprisingly wide range of modifications in a system with so few skeletal elements. As feeding mechanisms evolved from an ancestral biting mechanism in Paleozoic taxa, to incorporate suction, ram, and filter feeding mechanisms in modern taxa, the associated musculoskeletal system also diversified. Whereas the mechanical pattern for opening and closing the mouth clearly remains conserved, several different mechanisms have evolved for protruding and adducting the jaws that are related to feeding style, prey type, and ecological habitat. Modifications of the musculoskeletal architecture are commonly associated with those changes, although changes in motor activity pattern are few. Here we discuss these changes in the context of biomechanical, physiological, and ecological evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFish Physiology
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages35
StatePublished - 2015

Publication series

NameFish Physiology
ISSN (Print)1546-5098


  • Biomechanical systems
  • ecophysiology
  • muscle activity pattern
  • suction mechanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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