Navigation Links
Black piranha, megapiranha have most powerful bites of fish living or extinct, finds GW researcher
Date:12/20/2012

WASHINGTON The black piranha and the extinct giant piranha, or megapiranha, have the most powerful bites of carnivorous fishes, living or extinct, once body size is taken into account, finds researchers in a paper recently published in Scientific Reports. The research paper, Mega-Bites: Extreme jaw forces of living and extinct piranhas, highlights the piranhas' specialized jaw morphology, which allows them to attack and bite chunks out of much larger prey.

Guillermo Ort, the George Washington University Louis Weintraub Professor of Biology in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, is one of the authors of the paper. His research focuses on the evolution of fishes in general, but specializes on Amazonian fishes, to unravel evolutionary relationships based on DNA sequence data. In 2010, Dr. Orti along with other researchers participated in an expedition to the Xingu and Iriri rivers in Amazonia to collect the data on the fish.

Piranhas' aggressive nature, relatively small size and accessible populations make them a suitable group of predatory vertebrates in which to study the evolution of extreme biting capabilities. Even at their small body sizes, diet studies indicate that piranhas will attack and bite chunks of bony fins and flesh from prey many times larger than themselves. In spite of their reputation, no quantitative data or empirical estimates regarding the piranhas biting abilities were available.

The paper reports the first bite-force measurements taken from wild specimens of the largest species of carnivorous piranha in the Amazon, the black piranha, and describes the underlying functional morphology of the jaws that allows this creature to bite with a force more than 30 times greater than its weight. The powerful bite is achieved primarily due to the large muscle mass of the black piranha's jaw and the efficient transmission of its large contractile forces through a highly modified jaw-closing lever.

The expedition was organized and filmed by National Geographic. A subsequent program called Megapiranha aired on the National Geographic Channel featured the expedition and focused on the creature that existed millions of years ago.

"It was very exciting to participate in this project, travel one more time to the Amazon to be able to directly measure bite forces in the wild," said Dr. Orti. "I learned a lot of biomechanics from my colleagues while collecting valuable specimens for my own research." The authors also reconstructed the bite force of the megapiranha, showing that for its relatively diminutive body size, the bite of this fossil piranha dwarfed that of other extinct mega-predators, including the whale-eating shark and the Devonian placoderm. Research at the Ort lab at GW continues to focus on reconstructing the genealogical tree of fishes including piranhas based on genomic data.

Scientific Reports is a primary research publication from the publishers of Nature, covering all areas of the natural sciences.


'/>"/>

Contact: Latarsha Gatlin
lgatlin@gwu.edu
202-994-5631
George Washington University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Black flies may have a purpose after all
2. Wiley-Blackwell launches new open-access journal: Food Science & Nutrition
3. Black brant geese show lifetime relationship good for goose and gander
4. Are brown widows displacing black widow spiders around southern California homes?
5. Sickle cell trait can cause sudden cardiac death in black athletes: Why is this controversial?
6. Unusual weather events identified during the Black Saturday bushfires
7. Black belts white matter shows how a powerful punch comes from the brain
8. Human impact felt on Black Sea long before industrial era
9. Scientists find aphid resistance in black raspberry
10. Lack of vitamin D contributes to pain in black Americans with knee osteoarthritis
11. Le Rouge et le Noir: Where the black dahlia gets its color
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Black piranha, megapiranha have most powerful bites of fish living or extinct, finds GW researcher
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016   Acuant ... and verification solutions, has partnered with RightCrowd ... solutions for Visitor Management, Self-Service Kiosks and ... products that add functional enhancements to existing ... corporations and venues with an automated ID ...
(Date:6/20/2016)... 2016 Securus Technologies, a leading provider ... public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring announced that ... has secured the final acceptance by all three ... Access Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, Securus will have ... installed by October, 2016. MAS distinguishes between legitimate ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction of fingerprint ... sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to even control the opening ... ... ... Photo ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... SILVER SPRING, Md. , June 23, 2016 ... evidence collected from the crime scene to track the criminal ... sick, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. ... whole genome sequencing to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO , June 23, 2016   ... it has secured $1 million in debt financing from ... to ramp up automation and to advance its drug ... for its new facility. "SVB has been ... goes beyond the services a traditional bank would provide," ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated to identifying, protecting ... has closed its Series A funding round, according to ... "We have received a commitment from Forentis Fund that ... meet our current goals," stated Matthew Nunez . ... complete validation on the current projects in our pipeline, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Velocity Products, a division ... tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining centers at The International Manufacturing ... collaboration among several companies with expertise in toolholding, cutting tools, machining dynamics and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: