Sucking while swimming: Evaluating the effects of ram speed on suction generation in bluegill sunfish Lepomis macrochirus using digital particle image velocimetry

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Title: Sucking while swimming: Evaluating the effects of ram speed on suction generation in bluegill sunfish Lepomis macrochirus using digital particle image velocimetry
Author: Higham, Timothy; Day, Steven; Wainwright, Peter
Abstract: It is well established that suction feeding fish use a variable amount of swimming (ram) during prey capture. However, the fluid mechanical effects of ram on suction feeding are not well established. In this study we quantified the effects of ram on the maximum fluid speed of the water entering the mouth during feeding as well as the spatial patterns of flow entering the mouth of suction feeding bluegill sunfish Lepomis macrochirus. Using Digital Particle Image Velocimetry (DPIV) and high-speed video, we observed the flow in front of the mouth of three fish using a vertical laser sheet positioned on the midsagittal plane of the fish. From this we quantified the maximum fluid speed (measured at a distance in front of the mouth equal to one half of the maximum mouth diameter), the degree of focusing of water flow entering the mouth, and the shape of the ingested volume of water. Ram speed in 41 feeding sequences, measured at the time of maximum gape, ranged between 0 and 25·cm·s–1, and the ratio of ram speed to fluid speed ranged from 0.1% to 19.1%. In a regression ram speed did not significantly affect peak fluid speed, but with an increase in ram speed the degree of focusing of water entering the mouth increased significantly, and the shape of the ingested volume of water became more elongate and narrow. The implications of these findings are that (1) suction feeders that employ ram of between 0% and 20% of fluid speed sacrifice little in terms of the fluid speeds they generate and (2) ram speed enhances the total body closing speed of the predator.
Description: RIT community members may access full-text via RIT Libraries licensed databases: http://library.rit.edu/databases/
Record URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1850/8586
Publishers URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jeb.01682
Date: 2005-05-11

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