Linking hunting weaponry to attack strategies in sailfish and striped marlin

Type Article
Date 2020-01
Language English
Author(s) Hansen M. J.1, Krause S.2, Breuker M.2, Kurvers R. H. J. M.1, 3, Dhellemmes F.1, Viblanc P. E.4, Mueller J.5, Mahlow C.5, Boswell K.6, Marras S.7, Domenici P.7, Wilson A. D. M.8, Herbert-Read J. E.9, Steffensen J. F.10, Fritsch G.11, Hildebrandt T. B.11, Zaslansky P.12, Bach Pascal13, Sabarros Philippe13, 14, Krause J.1, 4
Affiliation(s) 1 : Leibniz Inst Freshwater Ecol & Inland Fisheries, Dept Biol & Ecol Fishes, Muggelseedamm 310, D-12587 Berlin, Germany.
2 : Lubeck Univ Appl Sci, Dept Elect Engn & Comp Sci, D-23562 Lubeck, Germany.
3 : Max Planck Inst Human Dev, Ctr Adapt Rational, Lentzeallee 94, D-14195 Berlin, Germany.
4 : Humboldt Univ, Fac Life Sci, Invalidenstr 42, D-10115 Berlin, Germany.
5 : Humboldt Univ, Museum Nat Kunde, Leibniz Inst Evolut & Biodiversitatsforsch, Invalidenstr 43, D-10115 Berlin, Germany.
6 : Florida Int Univ, Dept Biol Sci, Marine Sci Program, North Miami, FL 33181 USA.
7 : CNR, IAMC, I-09170 Torregrande, Oristano, Italy.
8 : Univ Plymouth, Sch Biol & Marine Sci, Plymouth PL4 8AA, Devon, England.
9 : Univ Cambridge, Dept Zool, Downing St, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, England.
10 : Univ Copenhagen, Marine Biol Sect, Strandpromenaden 5, DK-3000 Helsingor, Denmark.
11 : Leibniz Inst Zoo & Wildlife Res, Dept Reprod Management & Reprod Biol, Alfred Kowalke Str, D-1710315 Berlin, Germany.
12 : Charite, Julius Wolff Inst, D-13353 Berlin, Germany.
13 : IRD, Ctr Halieut Mediterraneen & Trop, BP 171, F-34203 Sete, France.
14 : Inst Rech Dev, UMR 248, MARBEC, Ob7,Ave Jean Monnet,CS 30171, F-34203 Sete, France.
Source Proceedings Of The Royal Society B-biological Sciences (0962-8452) (Royal Soc), 2020-01 , Vol. 287 , N. 1918 , P. 20192228. (9p.)
DOI 10.1098/rspb.2019.2228
WOS© Times Cited 12
Keyword(s) billfish, morphology, attack behaviour, feeding specialization, sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus), striped marlin (Kajikia audax)

Linking morphological differences in foraging adaptations to prey choice and feeding strategies has provided major evolutionary insights across taxa. Here, we combine behavioural and morphological approaches to explore and compare the role of the rostrum (bill) and micro-teeth in the feeding behaviour of sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) and striped marlin (Kajikia audax) when attacking schooling sardine prey. Behavioural results from high-speed videos showed that sailfish and striped marlin both regularly made rostrum contact with prey but displayed distinct strategies. Marlin used high-speed dashes, breaking schools apart, often contacting prey incidentally or tapping at isolated prey with their rostra; while sailfish used their rostra more frequently and tended to use a slower, less disruptive approach with more horizontal rostral slashes on cohesive prey schools. Capture success per attack was similar between species, but striped marlin had higher capture rates per minute. The rostra of both species are covered with micro-teeth, and micro-CT imaging showed that species did not differ in average micro-tooth length, but sailfish had a higher density of microteeth on the dorsal and ventral sides of their rostra and a higher amount of micro-teeth regrowth, suggesting a greater amount of rostrum use is associated with more investment in micro-teeth. Our analysis shows that the rostra of billfish are used in distinct ways and we discuss our results in the broader context of relationships between morphological and behavioural feeding adaptations across species.

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Hansen M. J., Krause S., Breuker M., Kurvers R. H. J. M., Dhellemmes F., Viblanc P. E., Mueller J., Mahlow C., Boswell K., Marras S., Domenici P., Wilson A. D. M., Herbert-Read J. E., Steffensen J. F., Fritsch G., Hildebrandt T. B., Zaslansky P., Bach Pascal, Sabarros Philippe, Krause J. (2020). Linking hunting weaponry to attack strategies in sailfish and striped marlin. Proceedings Of The Royal Society B-biological Sciences, 287(1918), 20192228. (9p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :