Morphological development of the mouth and improvement in feeding ability in the early larval stages of red porgy, Pagrus pagrus (L.)
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The appearance, ossification and growth of cartilaginous structures of the mouth in early larval stages of laboratory reared red porgy Pagrus pagrus, were examined. At the time of mouth opening, red porgy larvae are equipped with the fundamental components of the oral cavity to allow the sucking motion for acquiring food. During the initial feeding stage, from day 5 after hatching (AH) to day 7 AH, the hyoid and lower branchial archs were completed, and the head length and other structural elements, like the ceratohyal-epihyal cartilage, increased rapidly. These events intensified sucking mechanisms by increasing the amount of ingested rotifers. After day 13 AH, the presence of the bony premaxilla and angular, the ossification of the Meckels cartilage and the appearance of pharyngeal teeth (ceratobranchial teeth), allowed grasping of food items. Finally, at the end of the study period, the appearance of new elements, the ossification of previous ones, and the improvement of swimming ca.....