Shared ecological traits influence shape of the skeleton in flatfishes (Pleuronectiformes)
Body shape, Comparative methods, Ecology, Fish, Geometric morphometrics, Marine, Morphological evolution
In the age of phylogenetic comparative methods, evolutionary biologists have been able to explore evolutionary trends in form in unique and extraordinarily diverse groups of animals. Pleuronectiformes, commonly known as flatfishes, is a diverse and specialized order of fishes that have remarkable asymmetry induced by ocular migration and a benthic life style. Although flatfishes are unique from other fishes, species within the group are morphologically diverse. The origin of ocular migration has been a primary focus of research; however, little is known about overall shape diversification among the flatfishes. In this study, we use integrative methods to examine how body shape evolved within the flatfishes. Shape was quantified from X-rays using geometric morphometrics for 389 individuals across 145 species. The most recent and robust phylogeny was overlaid onto the morphospace and phylogenetic signal was calculated to ascertain convergence in the morphospace. In addition, phylogenetic linear models were employed to determine if ecological traits were correlated with shape and if size had an effect on overall body shape. Results revealed that the majority of variation evolved recently, within the past 15-10-million-years in the middle Miocene, and is highly variable within the flatfishes. These changes are best summarized by body depth, jaw length and medial fin length. Dorsal and anal fin length are correlated, which may be due to the unique mode of locomotion used by flatfishes. A phylogenetic linear model and phylomorphospace analysis suggested that several ecological traits are correlated with shape, which indicates an ecological role in the diversification of flatfishes.
Department of Biology
Original Publication Date
DOI of published version
UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
Black, Corinthia R. and Berendzen, Peter B., "Shared ecological traits influence shape of the skeleton in flatfishes (Pleuronectiformes)" (2020). Faculty Publications. 414.