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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Ofiodon – a fish that has 555 teeth, replacing twenty of them every day. Findings

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Fish with teeth is nothing extraordinary. Only herbivores don’t have them. But ofiodon is a fish with very specific teeth. It has hundreds of them – usually 555. They are sharp and tiny, covering the animal’s hard palate and the entire mouth. Recent studies have shown that the fish lose about 20 teeth every day. Actually, it is not so much losing as exchanging for new ones.

Ofiodon (Ophiodon elongatus) is a species of predatory fish from the terpug family (Hexagrammidae). It is found in temperate and sub-arctic waters of the North Pacific. It is predominantly a scavenger, but sometimes eats small fish and crustaceans that live on the bottom of the seas, such as crabs. Adult specimens are an average of 50 centimeters in length, but can be up to 1.5 meters.

Fish with 555 teeth

What distinguishes ofiodona from other species of fish is the huge number of teeth in the mouth. Researchers counted – it is most often 555.

Their dentition is polyphiodontic, which means that their teeth are constantly being replaced. The species replaces an average of 20 teeth a day, according to recent studies by biologists at the University of Washington and the University of South Florida.

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Ofiodon, a fish from the Pacific

Ofiodon, instead of incisors, molars and canines, has hundreds of sharp, almost microscopic teeth that cover their hard palate and the entire mouth. “Every surface of their mouth is covered with teeth,” said Karly Cohen, co-author of the study and a PhD student in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington.

What was the research like? The lead author of the experiment – Emily Carr, a biology student at the University of South Florida – and Karly Cohen placed 20 ofiodons in an aquarium whose water was colored red. As a result, teeth, even microscopic ones, stained this color. Later, the researchers moved the fish to a tank filled with a fluorescent green dye.

Scientists have calculated the ratio of red teeth to green teeth. It turned out that the average individual loses about 20 teeth a day. They wrote about their discovery in the scientific journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society B.”.

Ofiodon has hundreds of sharp, almost microscopic teethShutterstock

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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