Black CR, Armbruster JW (2022) Chew on this: Oral jaw shape is not correlated with diet type in loricariid catfishes. PLoS ONE 17(11): e0277102. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0277102
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/artic ... ne.0277102
The correlation between form and function is influenced by biomechanical constraints, natural selection, and ecological interactions. In many species of suction-feeding fishes, jaw shape has shown to be closely associated with diet. However, these correlations have not been tested in fishes that have more complex jaw functions. For example, the neotropical loricariid catfishes possess a ventrally facing oral disk, which allows for the oral jaws to adhere to surfaces to conduct feeding. To determine if jaw shape is correlated to diet type, we assessed oral jaw shape across 36 species using CT scans. Shape was quantified with traditional and automated landmarking in 3DSlicer, and diet type correlation was calculated using the phylogenetic generalized least squares (PGLS) method. We found that traditional and automated processes captured shape effectively when all jaw components were combined. PGLS found that diet type did not correlate to jaw shape; however, there was a correlation between clades with diverse diets and fast evolutionary rates of shape. These results suggest that shape is not constrained to diet type, and that similarly shaped jaws coupled with different types of teeth could allow the fishes to feed on a wide range of materials.