A study of lower jaw dentition of wild Atlantic salmon life throughout its life cycle
I thought I'd share this interesting and educational study:
Establishment, maintenance and modifications of the lower jaw dentition of wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) throughout its life cycle
In this paper we elucidate the pattern of initiation of the first teeth and the pattern of tooth replacement on the dentary of wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.), throughout nearly all stages of its life cycle, using serially sectioned heads and jaws, cleared and stained animals, and X-rays. The dentary teeth are set in one row. Tooth germs appear around hatching, first in odd positions, followed by even positions. From position 8 further backwards, teeth are added in adjacent positions. The first replacement teeth appear in animals of about 30 mm fork length. On the dentary of early life stages (alevins and fry), every position in the tooth row holds a functional (i.e. attached and erupted) tooth and a replacement tooth. The alternating pattern set up anteriorly in the dentary by the first-generation teeth changes in juveniles (parr) whereby teeth are in a similar functional (for the erupted teeth) or developmental stage (for the replacement teeth) every three positions. This pattern is also observed in marine animals during their marine life phase and in both sexes of adult animals prior to spawning (grilse and salmon), but every position now holds either a functional tooth or a mineralised replacement tooth. This is likely due to the fact that replacement tooth germs have to grow to a larger size before mineralisation starts. In the following spring, the dentary tooth pattern of animals that have survived spawning (kelts) is highly variable. The abundance of functional teeth in post-spawning animals nevertheless indicates that teeth are not lost over winter.We confirm the earlier reported lack of evidence for the existence of an edentulous life phase, preceding the appearance of so-called breeding teeth during upstream migration to the spawning grounds, and consider breeding teeth to be just another tooth generation in a regularly replacing dentition. This study shows how Atlantic salmon maintains a functional adaptive dentition throughout its complex life cycle.
Article in full: Establishment, maintenance and modifications of the lower jaw dentition of wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) throughout its life cycle