Most of the natural prey items sought by species of fish we might find in our tanks are usually small, soft-bodies organisms, like daphnia and bloodworm. Many fish possess what are known as pharyngeal teeth to aid with digestion. These teeth are, unfortunately, of little use when it comes to the defences put up by hard-shelled organisms such as snails. However, such defences are useless against the formidable teeth possessed by pufferfish. The freshwater mbu puffer from Africa can make an easy meal out of a large snail, while marine species can easily chow down on the calcareous structures created by nutritious corals. Crude bite force isn’t limited to puffers either. The Amazonian pacu, with its almost human-like gnashers can make quick work of hard-shelled seeds, nuts and fruit. If brute force isn’t your style, then sharpness works just as well. The close relative of the pacu, the piranha has a voracious appetite and puts its razor sharp teeth to good use. This diversity of feeding adaptation allows many species to utilise a resource inaccessible to others, reducing competition between species and ensuring the survival of its kind.
Image credit: Jungle Dragon
Tagged in: Aquatic Adaptations