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
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 movement?
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
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
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: