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, 213 (5), 831-41

Muscle Activity and Hydrodynamic Function of Pelvic Fins in Trout (Oncorhynchus Mykiss)


Muscle Activity and Hydrodynamic Function of Pelvic Fins in Trout (Oncorhynchus Mykiss)

E M Standen. J Exp Biol.


Contrary to the previous premise that pelvic fins lacked obvious function, recent work on three-dimensional fin motions suggests that pelvic fins actively control stability and speed in slowly swimming trout. This study used electromyography to measure pelvic fin muscle activity and particle imaging velocimetry to quantify flow along the ventral body region to test this hypothesis. Fish swam at slow speeds (0.13-1.36 BL s(-1)) while being filmed with three high speed cameras. Three-dimensional kinematics were captured for all trials. During EMG trials pelvic fin muscle activity was synchronized to kinematic motion, during particle imaging velocimetry trials, a laser light-sheet was used to visualize the flow surrounding the ventral aspect of the fish. Four main conclusions are reached: first, pelvic fins are actively oscillated during slow-speed swimming; antagonistic abductor and adductor muscles contracted simultaneously, their collective action producing a unique contralateral oscillating behaviour in the fins. Second, pelvic fins slow the flow along the ventral side affecting pitch and yaw instabilities; flow upstream of the pelvic fins is slowed by 0.02 m s(-1) and flow downstream of the pelvic fins is slowed by 0.034 m s(-1) compared with free stream flow. Third, pelvic fin wake influences anal fin angle of attack; flow angle in the wake of the pelvic fin was 33.84+/-2.4 deg. (max) and -11.83+/-11.2 deg. (min) compared with the free stream flow angle of 1.27+/-0.1 deg. Fourth, pelvic fins appear to actively damp body oscillation during slow-speed swimming, providing drag to help control speed and stabilize the body position during slow-speed swimming.

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