The laterophysic connection in chaetodontid butterflyfish: morphological variation and speculations on sensory function. Academic Article uri icon


  • The laterophysic connection is a novel specialization in chaetodontid butterflyfish, in which paired diverticula of the swim-bladder ('horns') extend anteriorly and approach or directly contact a medial fossa in the lateral line canal contained within the supracleithrum. This study examined the morphology of the laterophysic connection in eight ecologically diverse species belonging to five subgenera within Chaetodon. Two types of laterophysic connections, indirect and direct, were found among Chaetodon species. Intraspecific variation (including sexual dimorphism) in the morphology of the laterophysic connection was not found. The type of laterophysic connection is not correlated with ecological characteristics among Chaetodon species, but appears to be correlated with subgeneric affinities of Chaetodon species. The presence of swim-bladder horns probably increases pressure sensitivity to the inner ear. It is suggested that the presence of a direct laterophysic connection, and possibly an indirect laterophysic connection, imparts pressure sensitivity to the lateral line canal system as well.

publication date

  • September 29, 2000