Culminating Project Title
Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
Biological Sciences - Ecology and Natural Resources: M.S.
College of Science and Engineering
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
Deep sea, Anatomy, Systematics
To date, no study has investigated how many independent evolutions of fangs have occurred across ray-finned fishes. This research addresses this question by focusing on the evolution of fangs across a diversity of marine habitats in the Lizardfishes (Aulopiformes), and then investigating the evolution of fangs across ray-finned fishes (Actinopterygii). Lizardfishes are a diverse order of fishes (~236 species) that are observed to have fang-like teeth and occupy a variety of marine habitats. A taxonomic review of lizardfish specimens representing 35 of 44 genera were examined for the presence of fangs. In addition to assessing the presence of fangs, lizardfish habitat was also evaluated to examine if there is a correlation between fang presence and habitat. I estimated the character evolution of fang presence and habitat across a previously published phylogeny of lizardfish relationships to examine evolutionary patterns. I identified that fangs have independently evolved three times across the lizardfishes. There is also a correlation between the evolution of fangs in lizardfishes and habitat with fangs evolving more frequently in deep-sea pelagic habitats. To further investigate the evolution of fangs, I expanded my research to include a robust hypothesis of relationships among families of ray-finned fishes. Using previously published genetic data, I inferred a phylogeny of 315 species representing 211 families of ray-finned fishes. I again utilized ancestral character-state reconstructions to examine patterns of fang evolution across ray-finned fishes. The results of my analyses indicates that there have been at least 38 independent evolutions of fangs across ray-finned fishes. Generally in families that evolved fangs, when the majority of the species diversity possess fangs they are found in pelagic environments.
Olson, Emily, "The Evolution of Fangs Across Ray-Finned Fishes (Actinopterygii)" (2017). Culminating Projects in Biology. 22.