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Coral reef fishes, including clownfish, display a wide variety of colors but it remains unclear how these colors evolved or how they develop throughout a fish's life. Research published in BMC Biology sheds new light on the evolution of different stripe patterns in clownfish and on how these patterns change as individuals from different species grow from larvae into adults.
Dr. Vincent Laudet, the corresponding author at Sorbonne University, France said: "We show that the ancestor of today's clownfish possessed three white stripes. Then, as some species evolved they lost stripes and we reveal a surprising similarity between this loss of stripes during species evolution and the development of different stripe patterns in individuals from different species today. "
Species - Amphiprion - Ocellaris - Amphiprion - Stripes
Studying two species of clownfish - Amphiprion ocellaris and Amphiprion frenatus - that have three stripes or a single head stripe, respectively, the authors found that shortly after hatching, the larvae of neither species had any stripes. Subsequently, both species acquired stripes on head and trunk at the same time, with A. oscellaris acquiring a third stripe near the tail and A. frenatus losing the trunk stripe before reaching adulthood.
Examining development information for 26 additional species of clownfish, the authors observed that at least nine species have more stripes as juveniles than they do as adults, which prompted the authors to investigating the development of stripes across the evolution of clownfish.
Dr - Laudet - Species - Today - Gains
Dr. Laudet said: "Interestingly, every clownfish species existing today gains stripes from front to back after they are born, before individuals of some species lose stripes again from back to front as they grow into adults, which is similar to the loss of stripes observed during clownfish evolution; while all clownfish started out with three stripes—that is their last common ancestor had three stripes—as they diversified into what are now 30 different species,...
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