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The skeleton of a hagfish is composed of cartilage, which includes a cartilaginous notochord, which runs the length of the body, and a skull. This notochord provides support to the fish’s body. Although they are craniates, hagfishes are not vertebrates, since they do not replace the notochord with a vertebral column during development, as do the vertebrates.

The clade Petromyzontidae    includes approximately 40 species of lampreys. Lampreys are similar to hagfishes in size and shape; however, lampreys have a brain case and incomplete vertebrae. Lampreys lack paired appendages and bone, as do the hagfishes. As adults, lampreys are characterized by a toothed, funnel-like sucking mouth. Some species are parasitic as adults, attaching to and feeding on the body fluids of fish ( [link] b ). Most species are free-living.

Lampreys live primarily in coastal and fresh waters and have a worldwide temperate region distribution. All species spawn in fresh waters. Eggs are fertilized externally, and the larvae are distinctly different from the adult form, spending 3 to 15 years as suspension feeders. Once they attain sexual maturity, the adults reproduce and die within days. Lampreys have a notochord as adults.

Jawed fishes

Gnathostomes or “jaw-mouths” are vertebrates that have jaws and include both cartilaginous and bony fishes. One of the most significant developments in early vertebrate evolution was the origin of the jaw, which is a hinged structure attached to the cranium that allows an animal to grasp and tear its food. The evolution of jaws allowed early gnathostomes to exploit food resources that were unavailable to jawless fishes.

The clade Chondrichthyes    , the cartilaginous fishes, is diverse, consisting of sharks ( [link] a ), rays, and skates, together with sawfishes and a few dozen species of fishes called chimaeras , or ghost sharks. Chondrichthyes have paired fins and a skeleton made of cartilage. This clade arose approximately 370 million years ago in the middle Devonian. They are thought to have descended from an extinct group that had a skeleton made of bone; thus, the cartilaginous skeleton of Chondrichthyes is a later development. Parts of the shark skeleton are strengthened by granules of calcium carbonate, but this is not the same as bone.

Most cartilaginous fishes live in marine habitats, with a few species living in fresh water for some or all of their lives. Most sharks are carnivores that feed on live prey, either swallowing it whole or using their jaws and teeth to tear it into smaller pieces. Shark teeth likely evolved from the jagged scales that cover their skin. Some species of sharks and rays are suspension feeders that feed on plankton.

Photo a shows a shark with a wide snout. Photo b shows a stingray with a long, thin body and a circular head, resting on the sandy bottom
(a) This hammerhead shark is an example of a predatory cartilaginous fish. (b) This stingray blends into the sandy bottom of the ocean floor when it is feeding or awaiting prey. (credit a: modification of work by Masashi Sugawara; credit b: modification of work by "Sailn1"/Flickr)

Sharks have well-developed sense organs that aid them in locating prey, including a keen sense of smell and electroreception, the latter being perhaps the most sensitive of any animal. Organs called ampullae of Lorenzini allow sharks to detect the electromagnetic fields that are produced by all living things, including their prey. Electroreception has only been observed in aquatic or amphibious animals. Sharks, together with most fishes, also have a sense organ called the lateral line , which is used to detect movement and vibration in the surrounding water, and a sense that is often considered homologous to “hearing” in terrestrial vertebrates. The lateral line is visible as a darker stripe that runs along the length of the fish’s body.

Questions & Answers

explain why a fresh water fish excrete ammonia
Leonard Reply
plz answer my question
Leonard
What are eukaryotic cells?
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where does the cell get energy for active transport processes?
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what is synapsis
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why Calvin cycle occurs in stroma
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Maryam Reply
why do humans enhale oxygen and exhale carbondioxide? For the purpose of breaking down the food
dil
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process of protein synthesis
SANTOSH Reply
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Zulf Reply
a cell is a smallest basic, structural and functional unit of life that is capable of self replication
Lucas
why does a fresh water fish excrete ammonia
Leonard
plz answer my question
Leonard
Ammonia is a toxic colorless gas and when its inside the fish biological system is converted to a less toxic compound then excreted in the form of urea. However too much ammonia will kill the fish " Ammonia Poisoning " which is a very common disease among fish.
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what is cytoplasm
uzoka Reply
cytoplasm is fluid of cell.
Deepak
how many major types of Cloning
Saeed Reply
two
amir
two
Zulf
comparative anatomy of gymnosperms?
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anatomy of gymnosperms
Meenakshi
how genes are regulated
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Student Reply
glycogen is a protein content
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100
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on average 18000 times a day when resting.
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Source:  OpenStax, Concepts of biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11487/1.9
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