The deep sea, the largest habitat on earth, is an extreme environment that presents challenges for finding food, avoiding predators and reproducing. At low light levels in the mesopelagic, or in the darkness of the bathypelagic, fishes must depend on the non-visual senses to mediate behaviors critical for their survival. A recent review of the morphological diversity of the mechanosensory lateral line system in teleost fishes (Webb, 2014) revealed a large gap in our knowledge of the system in all but a few deep-sea fish taxa. Several groups, such as melamphaeids, macrourids, morids, and cetamimids are known to have obvious widened cranial lateral line canals and large neuromasts, and deep sea ceratiids lack lateral line canals but have a proliferation of superficial neuromasts. However, the lateral line system of the Stomiiformes, a the most diverse order of deep-sea fishes with representatives found in all the world’s oceans, is not well known. In fact, there is only one published description of the lateral line system in a stomiiform – a hatchetfish (Argyropelecus hemigymnus, Handrick, 1901). The current study, carried out by graduate student Ashley Marranzino, examined the morphology of the lateral line system of 32 stomiiform species using histology, SEM, µCT imaging, clearing and staining, and nerve staining. The results of this study have been revolutionary. A manuscript is in review at the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.
Ashley won the Stoye Award in Genetics, Development, and Morphology for her presentation of this work at the 2016 meeting of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in New Orleans.
Funded by: NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Lerner-Gray Fund For Marine Research (American Museum of Natural History, NY), URI Graduate School.
- Marranzino, AN and Webb, JF. 2018. Flow sensing in the deep sea: The mechanosensory lateral line system of stomiiform fishes. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 183: 945-965. https://doi.org/10.1093/zoolinnean/zlx090
- Marranzino, AN and Webb, JF. 2014. The Lateral Line System of Deep-Sea Fishes: Preliminary Observations on Stomiiform Fishes. ASIH Chattanooga, TN.
- Marranzino, AN and Webb, JF. 2014. The Lateral Line System of Deep-Sea Fishes: Preliminary Observations on Stomiiform Fishes. NEOSEC (New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative). Ocean Literacy Summit, Woods Hole, MA.
- Marranzino, AN and Webb, JF. 2016. Novel observations on the mechanosensory lateral line system in stomiiform fishes. SICB, Portland OR.
- Marranzino, AN and Webb, JF. 2016. Flow sensing in the deep-sea: Novel observations on the mechanosensory lateral line system of stomiiform fishes. Ecology and Evolutionary Ethology of Fishes. Tallahassee, FL.
- Marranzino, AN and Webb, JF. 2016. Flow sensing in the deep sea: Novel observations on the mechanosensory lateral line system in stomiiform fishes. International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology, Washington, DC.
- Marranzino, AN. and Webb, JF. 2016. Lateral line canals and superficial neuromasts in stomiiform fishes. Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, New Orleans, LA. July 2016. WINNER Stoye Award in Genetics, Development and Morphology.
- Marranzino, AN, Kenaley, CP, Psaltis, J, Dawson, C , and Webb, JF. 2016. Variation in the morphology and distribution of photophores among stomiiform genera. Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, New Orleans, LA.
Science Daily – https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160819162350.htm
Providence Business News – http://pbn.com/URI-grad-student-makes-discovery-about-dragonfish,116305
Progressive Charlestown (RI) – http://www.progressive-charlestown.com/2016/08/uri-grad-student-makes-discovery-about.html
Marine Science Today – http://marinesciencetoday.com/2016/08/24/dragonfish-can-sense-slight-changes-in-water-flow/