The Pressures of suction feeding: The Relation between buccal pressure and induced fluid speed in centrarchid fishes

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Title: The Pressures of suction feeding: The Relation between buccal pressure and induced fluid speed in centrarchid fishes
Author: Higham, Timothy; Day, Steven; Wainwright, Peter
Abstract: Suction feeding fish rapidly expand their oral cavity, resulting in a flow of water directed towards the mouth that is accompanied by a drop in pressure inside the buccal cavity. Pressure inside the mouth and fluid speed external to the mouth are understood to be mechanically linked but the relationship between them has never been empirically determined in any suction feeder. We present the first simultaneous measurements of fluid speed and buccal pressure during suction feeding in fishes. Digital particle image velocimetry (DPIV) and high-speed video were used to measure the maximum fluid speed in front of the mouth of four largemouth bass and three bluegill sunfish by positioning a vertical laser sheet on the midsagittal plane of the fish. Peak magnitude of pressure inside the buccal cavity was quantified using a transducer positioned within a catheter that opened into the dorsal wall of the buccal cavity. In both species the time of peak pressure preceded the time of peak fluid speed by as much as 42·ms, indicating a role for unsteady flow effects in shaping this relation. We parameterized an existing model of suction feeding to determine whether the relationship between peak pressures and fluid speeds that we observed could be predicted using just a few kinematic variables. The model predicted much higher fluid speeds than we measured at all values of peak pressure and gave a scaling exponent between them (0.51) that was higher than observed (0.36 for largemouth bass, 0.38 for bluegill). The scaling between peak buccal pressure and peak fluid speed at the mouth aperture differed in the two species, supporting the recent conclusion that species morphology affects this relation such that a general pattern may not hold.
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Date: 2006-06-14

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