All fish species in the Anabantoidei suborder are aquatic airbreathing fish. These species have an accessory air-breathing organ, called the labyrinth organ, in the branchial cavity and can engulf air at the surface of the water to assist in gas exchange. It is therefore necessary to examine the extent of gill modification among anabantoid fish species and the potential trade-offs in their function. The experimental hypothesis that we aimed to test is whether anabantoid fishes have both morphological and functional variations in the gills among different species. We examined the gills of 12 species from three families and nine genera of Anabantoidei. Though the sizes of the fourth gill arch in three species of Trichogaster were reduced significantly, not all anabantoid species had morphological and functional variations in the gills. In these three species, the specific enzyme activity and relative protein abundance of Na+/K+- ATPase were significantly higher in the anterior gills as compared with the posterior gills and the labyrinth organ. The relative abundance of cytosolic carbonic anhydrase, an indicator of gas exchange, was found to be highest in the labyrinth organ. The phylogenetic distribution of the fourth gill's morphological differentiation suggests that these variations are lineage specific, which may imply a phylogenetic influence on gill morphology in anabantoid species.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology