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Body shape transformations by alternate anatomical adaptive peak shifts in blenniiform fishes

Citation

Collar, David; DiPaolo, Emma; Mai, Sienna; Mehta, Rita (2021), Body shape transformations by alternate anatomical adaptive peak shifts in blenniiform fishes, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.jwstqjq6m

Abstract

Extreme body elongation has occurred repeatedly in the evolutionary history of ray-finned fishes. Lengthening of the anterior-posterior body axis relative to depth and width can involve changes in the cranial skeleton and vertebral column, but to what extent is anatomical evolution determined by selective factors and intrinsic constraints that are shared broadly among closely related lineages? In this study, we fit adaptive (Ornstein-Uhlenbeck) evolutionary models to body shape and its anatomical determinants and identified two instances of extreme elongation by divergent anatomical peak shifts in the Blenniiformes, a radiation of small-bodied substrate-associated marine teleost fishes. Species in the genus Xiphasia (hairtail blennies) evolved toward a peak defined by a highly elongated caudal vertebral region but ancestral cranial and precaudal vertebral morphology. In contrast, a clade that includes the genera Chaenopsis and Lucayablennius (pike and arrow blennies) evolved toward a peak with a long slender skull but ancestral axial skeletal anatomy. Neither set of anatomical peak shifts aligns closely with the major axis of anatomical diversification in other blenniiform fishes. These results provide little evidence that ancestral constraints have affected body shape transformation, and instead suggest that extreme elongation arose with distinct shifts in selective factors and development.