LAB ASSIGNMENT 2: FISHES – FORM & FUNCTION
PART 1: MORPHOLOGY & NATURAL HISTORY.
Based on what you’ve learned from the
lab manual and through observing the specimens in the lab, you should be able to make
inferences about a fish’s life history based on its morphology – and vice versa. Below are
descriptions of two mystery fishes. Based on the information provided, describe (in as much
detail as you can) the appearance and/or function of the traits below. You should address each
category using one or two sentences.
Locomotion & body shape
(type of locomotion; overall bauplan; mouth orientation):
How might this fish move through the water to catch prey or escape predators? How does
its shape contribute to that lifestyle?
Are certain fins large and others reduced or absent? Are
there unique, specialized fins? If so, what are they for? Are caudal fins heterocercal?
Homocercal? Do they have high or low aspect ratio? How does this relate to their
What kind of teeth do you expect the animal to have based on its diet?
How might this fish defend itself against or avoid predators
(e.g., coloration, weapons, behaviors, etc.)?
Sensory system specialization:
Are there modifications that allow this animal to
efficiently locate prey or looming predators? What structures might you expect to
observe? Does it have large eyes or small? Where are the eyes located on the head?
Where is the lateral line located?
What other behaviors might you expect this animal to exhibit? Does it live in
groups? Does it bury itself in the sand? Use your imagination! Describe how this
behavior relates to the original description.
is a bottom-dweller that lives in shallow, sun-dappled estuarine waters. Its main
predator is the great blue heron, which hunts by looking down into the water from above and
striking with its long, sharp bill. This fish preys primarily on hard-shelled invertebrates
which it locates via smell, then digs down into the sand to find them. Based on this
information, describe the following: