Larval development of Brycon amazonicus (Teleostei, Bryconidae) with a focus on locomotory, respiratory and feeding structures
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In the present work we describe the larval development of Brycon amazonicus, with emphasis on structures linked to swimming, respiration and feeding. We monitored from larval hatching (13 h post-fertilization) to juvenile stage. Formation of the oral cavity and differentiation of gill arches began within 4 h post-hatching (hph) and within 11 hph the primordium of the pectoral fin appeared. At 25 hph, the head was in a rectilinear position with a terminal mouth, when the onset of tooth formation appeared. At 35 hph, gill arches were covered by the operculum and branchiostegal membrane and cusps of teeth pierced the epithelium of the premaxilla and anterior dentary region. Sharp teeth were observed in the maxilla at 171 hph and the pelvic fin primordium appeared at 243 hph, with taste buds on the tongue and the roof of the buccopharyngeal cavity. At 579 hph, all structures related to swimming and food capture were formed. Exogenous feeding of the larvae started at 29 hph, before the endogenous reserves were used up and the development of efficient swimming ability, reflecting the species' need to increasingly specialize on prey capture.