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Anatomical details of rare electric fish revealed by an advanced imaging technique

Publicado em 09 outubro 2019

In an article published in the journal PLOS ONE, a group of researchers supported by FAPESP has updated the description of the Ghost knifefish, Tembeassu marauna, a neotropical electric fish species found only once in the wild.

The study, conducted in Brazil, was based on an analysis of external anatomy and internal details that could be seen thanks to an advanced, high-resolution computed tomography (CT) technique that revealed characteristics of the fish's bones without requiring dissection.

Specimens - T - Marauna - University - São "The only three known specimens of T. marauna are preserved in the University of São Paulo's Zoology Museum [MZ-USP], and because they're the only ones, they can't be dissected or bathed in iodine to make their internal organs and other soft tissues visible in a CT scan. These problems hinder studies of this species," Luiz Antonio Wanderley Peixoto, first author of the article, said.

The study was conducted during Peixoto's postdoctoral fellowship and supervised by Professor Aléssio Datovo da Silva, a coauthor of the article. The scientists studied the osteology (bone structure) of the 17-centimeter specimens by X-ray microcomputed tomography (microCT scanning), comparing their internal details with those of similar fish to establish a better classification of the species. The previous classification was based only on observation of its external anatomy and conventional X-rays.

Research - Collaboration - Colleagues - Federal - University They conducted the research in collaboration with colleagues at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro State (UNIRIO) in Brazil and the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), administered by the Smithsonian Institution in the United States.

The group's objective is to advance knowledge of electric fish. There are currently more than 250 known species of fish that can emit and detect low-voltage electric discharges to guide navigation, find mates or stun prey. The same research group recently described two new species of electric eel, the only electric fish capable of producing a powerful enough...

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