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Buoyancy Is Provided by Lipids of Larval Redlip Blennies, Ophioblennius atlanticus (Teleostei: Blenniidae)
J. R. Nursall
Vol. 1989, No. 3 (Aug. 8, 1989), pp. 614-621
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1445488
Page Count: 8
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Metalarvae of Ophioblennius atlanticus returning to the adult habitat as recruits are less dense than adults. Neither larvae nor adults have a swimbladder. The weight in water of metalarvae, as a percentage of their weight in air, is significantly less than that of adults. The liver makes up a much larger proportion of metalarval body mass than it does in adults, and the metalarval liver carries significantly more lipid than the adult liver. Several indices of buoyancy are compared. The adult redlip blenny is denser than any fish previously recorded, apparently an adaptation to its benthic existence in surging water in shallow coral reefs. Buoyancy provided by liver lipid is beneficial to the pelagic larva, but is secondary to the need for lipid storage to support the metabolism of metamorphosis, a requirement suggested by the rapid depletion of lipid stores at metamorphosis.