Histological development and integration of the Zebrafish Weberian apparatus
Danio rerio, inner ear, ontogeny, ossification, soft tissue, swim bladder, Weberian ossicles
Background: The Weberian apparatus enhances hearing in otophysan fishes, including Zebrafish (Danio rerio). Several studies have examined aspects of morphological development of the Weberian apparatus and hearing ability in Zebrafish. A comprehensive developmental description including both hard and soft tissues is lacking. This information is critical for both interpretation of genetic developmental analyses and to better understand the role of morphogenesis and integration on changes in hearing ability. Results: Histological development of hard and soft tissues of the Weberian apparatus, including ossicles, ear, swim bladder, and ligaments are described from early larval stages (3.8 mm notochord length) through adult. Results show a strong relationship in developmental timing and maturation across all regions. All required auditory elements are present and morphologically integrated early, by 6.5 mm SL. Dynamic ossification patterns and changes in shape continue throughout the examined developmental period. Conclusions: This study provides the first comprehensive histological description of Weberian apparatus development in Zebrafish. Morphological integration was found early, before increases in hearing ability were detected in functional studies (>10 mm total length), suggesting morphological integration precedes functional integration. Further research is needed to examine the nature of the functional delay, and how maturation of the Weberian apparatus influences functionality.
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DOI of published version
UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
Bird, Nathan C.; Richardson, Selena S.; and Abels, Jeremy R., "Histological development and integration of the Zebrafish Weberian apparatus" (2020). Faculty Publications. 278.