Seahorses have a super strong swallow thanks to two bow-like tendons.

Seahorses have a super strong swallow thanks to two bow-like tendons.

Seahorses have an unusually highly effective method of engulfing their prey, and we now understand how they do it. They feed on a fast sucking movement supported by two spring-like tendons that concurrently set off an upward head sweep and a sip of water. This enables the usually sluggish small fish to catch prey in a single lightning-quick movement.

From the cracking of the jaws of a trap-jaw ant to the mighty punch of a praying mantis shrimp, the quickest animal actions on the planet are powered by spring mechanisms. Like pulling a crossbow, the animal’s muscle mass pull the tendons right into a locked place earlier than releasing stress in an explosive movement.

Researchers already knew that seahorses have an elastic tendon behind their heads that pushes their snout upward whereas feeding. Roi Holzman Colleagues and colleagues from Tel Aviv College in Israel found that this is able to not be sufficient to clarify the shear-sucking energy small fish can produce.

Seahorses use a bow motion to quickly catch their food.

Seahorses use a bow movement to shortly catch their meals.

Shutterstock/Azahara Perez

In a comparability between three species of seahorses and 10 different fish that lack a bow-feeding mechanism, they discovered that seahorses can drink water about eight occasions quicker than anticipated based mostly on their mouth measurement.

To attempt to decide how that is doable, the researchers illuminated a seahorse because it fed, permitting them to raised see its translucent pores and skin. They then recognized a second tendon beneath the chin that would present further power.

“We have been in a position to truly see the tendon contracting, which implies it could actually retailer elastic power,” Holzman says. “That is nice as a result of till now we did not actually learn about any elastic power storage mechanism that serves two functions,” he says, describing the simultaneous head thrust and water swallowing.

“It properly confirms the speculation that not solely is the nostril shifting quick, but additionally the absorption of meals is completed by these fish with very excessive pressure,” he says. Sam Van Wassenbergh on the College of Antwerp in Belgium.

Subsequent, Holzman plans to research whether or not seahorse species have totally different elastic robust feeding mechanisms relying on their measurement and prey. “I am certain there are different loopy improvements we’ve not discovered,” he says.


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