Fluid Dynamics in Suspension-Feeding Blackfish

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Science  15 Mar 1991:
Vol. 251, Issue 4999, pp. 1346-1348
DOI: 10.1126/science.251.4999.1346


Measurements of flow patterns and water velocities inside the oral cavity of blackfish (Orthodon microlepidotus), made with a fiberoptic endoscope and thermistor flow probe, revealed that gill-arch structures act in blackfish as barriers that direct particle-laden water to the mucus-covered roof of the oral cavity, where particles are retained. Gill-arch structures have previously been assumed to be the site of particle retention in suspension-feeding fishes. Water does not pass between these structures in blackfish, and they do not serve as filters that separate particles from the water. These results emphasize the importance of directly assessing flow velocity and direction inside the oral cavity of vertebrate suspension feeders, particularly at the level of the filtering elements.

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