Morphology, Kinematics, and Dynamics: The Mechanics of Suction Feeding in Fishes

Steven W. Day, Timothy E. Higham, Roi Holzman, Sam Van Wassenbergh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Suction feeding is pervasive among aquatic vertebrates, and our understanding of the functional morphology and biomechanics of suction feeding has recently been advanced by combining experimental and modeling approaches. Key advances include the visualization of the patterns of flow in front of the mouth of a feeding fish, the measurement of pressure inside their mouth cavity, and the employment of analytical and computational models. Here, we review the key components of the morphology and kinematics of the suction-feeding system of anatomically generalized, adult ray-finned fishes, followed by an overview of the hydrodynamics involved. In the suction-feeding apparatus, a strong mechanistic link among morphology, kinematics, and the capture of prey is manifested through the hydrodynamic interactions between the suction flows and solid surfaces (the mouth cavity and the prey). It is therefore a powerful experimental system in which the ecology and evolution of the capture of prey can be studied based on first principals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-35
Number of pages15
JournalIntegrative and Comparative Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Plant Science


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