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Vol. 65, No. 4, 2005
Issue release date: April 2005
Brain Behav Evol 2005;65:231–243

Quantitative Aspects of the Spatial Distribution and Morphological Characteristics of the Sea Bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.; Teleostei, Serranidae) Trunk Lateral Line Neuromasts

Faucher K. · Lagardère J.-P. · Aubert A.
aLaboratoire de Biologie et Environnement Marins, CNRS-Université de La Rochelle, La Rochelle, bCentre de Recherche sur les Ecosystèmes Marins et Aquacoles, CNRS-Ifremer, l’Houmeau, France

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The results presented herein report quantitative data relative to the distribution and morphological characteristics of both types of neuromasts encountered on the trunk lateral line of the sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax, L.). These data were obtained from scanning electron micrographs. They indicate that, as expected, each modified scale of the sea bass possessed a single canal neuromast with long axis oriented parallel to the fish’s long axis. In contrast to several fish species, two thirds of superficial neuromasts observed herein were oriented perpendicular to the fish’s long axis. However, whatever the main orientation of superficial neuromasts, two thirds of their hair bundles were oriented parallel to the long axis of the animal with approximately half of them in the direction of the head. Similar ratios were observed for canal neuromasts whatever the area of the maculae: central or peripheral. For both types of neuromasts it was not possible to clearly distinguish a paired organization of hair bundles with opposing polarities. Superficial neuromasts on each trunk canal scale were located on either the dorsal or ventral side of the canal and appeared to be distributed along the trunk lateral line with a higher probability to be encountered closer to the operculum. The frequency of presence and the average number of superficial neuromasts per scale increased with fish size. We observed a size gradient for canal neuromasts between the operculum and caudal peduncle. This gradation was correlated with a reduction of the width of the central area of the canal segment. Canal neuromasts were always localized in the larger portions of the canal segments. Taken together, these results point out some specific features associated with the sea bass trunk lateral line. With the previous report, they establish the first full description of the trunk lateral line of sea bass and will be useful for upcoming experiments regarding the function of the two types of neuromasts.

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