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What does it take to be a herbivore?-gut structure and function in three species of new world silverside fishes (Telostei: Atherinopsidae) with different Diets. (Abstracts).

We explored the possible diet-related specializations of the gut in stomachless fishes by comparing the brush-border surface areas and enterocyte inclusions (in progress) of the gut epithelium and the digestive enzyme profiles (in progress) in three closely related atherinopsid fishes using electron microscopy and biochemical assays. For these comparisons, we examined proximal, middle and distal regions of the intestine of Atherinops affinis, from both kelp forest and estuarine habitats, and Atherinopsis californiensis and Leuresthes tenuis both from open coastal habitats. A. affinis is generally a carnivore in kelp forests and a herbivore in at least some estuaries, whereas A. californiensis is mainly carnivorous and L tennis strictly carnivorous. Previous work showed that relative gut length in these species generally follows the expectation that carnivores have shorter guts than herbivores and omnivores have guts of intermediate length. The herbivore (estuarine A. affinis) showed greater overall microvilla r surface area than the two more carnivorous species as well as the carnivorous population of A. affinis. Thus, a degree of congruence exists between diet, gut length and absorptive surface area, with the herbivore gut exposing a larger surface area to the ingested food material.
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Author:Horn, M.H.; Gawlicka, A.; Logothetis, E.A.; Jones, A.M.; Cavanagh, J.W.; German, D.P.; Freeman, C.T.
Publication:Bulletin (Southern California Academy of Sciences)
Article Type:Abstract
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Aug 1, 2002
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