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Boxfishes (Teleostei: Ostraciidae) as a model system for fishes swimming with many fins: kinematics

Hove, J. R. and O'Bryan, L. M. and Gordon, M. S. and Webb, P. W. and Weihs, D. (2001) Boxfishes (Teleostei: Ostraciidae) as a model system for fishes swimming with many fins: kinematics. Journal of Experimental Biology, 204 (8). pp. 1459-1471. ISSN 0022-0949.

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Swimming movements in boxfishes were much more complex and varied than classical descriptions indicated. At low to moderate rectilinear swimming speeds (<5 TL s^(-1), where TL is total body length), they were entirely median- and paired-fin swimmers, apparently using their caudal fins for steering. The pectoral and median paired fins generate both the thrust needed for forward motion and the continuously varied, interacting forces required for the maintenance of rectilinearity. It was only at higher swimming speeds (above 5 TL s^(-1)), when burst-and-coast swimming was used, that they became primarily body and caudal-fin swimmers. Despite their unwieldy appearance and often asynchronous fin beats, boxfish swam in a stable manner. Swimming boxfish used three gaits. Fin-beat asymmetry and a relatively nonlinear swimming trajectory characterized the first gait (0–1 TL s^(-1)). The beginning of the second gait (1–3 TL s^(-1)) was characterized by varying fin-beat frequencies and amplitudes as well as synchrony in pectoral fin motions. The remainder of the second gait (3–5 TL s^(-1)) was characterized by constant fin-beat amplitudes, varying finbeat frequencies and increasing pectoral fin-beat asynchrony. The third gait (>5 TL s^(-1)) was characterized by the use of a caudal burst-and-coast variant. Adduction was always faster than abduction in the pectoral fins. There were no measurable refractory periods between successive phases of the fin movement cycles. Dorsal and anal fin movements were synchronized at speeds greater than 2.5 TL s^(-1), but were often out of phase with pectoral fin movements.

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Additional Information:© 2001 The Company of Biologists Limited. Accepted 30 January; published on WWW 28 March 2001. We thank the staff at the Oceanic Institute, Waimanalo, Hawaii, Kimberly Selkoe, Dean Lauritzen and Scott Matthews for their administrative and logistical support for this project. We also extend our gratitude to Mike Eng and Richard Klufas of the UCLA Life Sciences electrical and machine shops and Steven Grubweiser and Joe Becker of the UCLA engineering shop for fabrication and customization of the water tunnel and its many appurtenances. This work was made possible by funding from the Office of Naval Research (research grant numbers N100014-96-0607 and N00014-97-1-0619 to M.S.G.).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Office of Naval Research (ONR)N100014-96-0607
Office of Naval Research (ONR)N00014-97-1-0619
Subject Keywords:fish; swimming; kinematics; ostraciiform mode; gait; boxfish; Ostracion meleagris camurum
Issue or Number:8
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20111104-120553233
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:27629
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:04 Nov 2011 22:03
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 03:25

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