Dynamics of pigment pattern formation in the zebrafish, Brachydanio rerio. III. Effect of anteroposterior location of three-day lateral line melanophores on colonization by the second wave of melanophores

J Exp Zool. 1983 Jul;227(1):81-92. doi: 10.1002/jez.1402270112.


The mode of colonization of the lateral line melanophore band of the zebrafish, Brachydanio rerio, by the second wave of melanophores has been investigated. This stripe forms in two consecutive stages. First, there is an initial migration and reorientation of pigment cells in an anteroposterior wave into the site to form an interrupted stripe. Following this, a round of melanophores differentiates directly at the site and fills in the gaps between the initial cells. An analysis of the distributions of initial and second wave melanophores along the stripe site has shown that both groups of cells are selective as to localization. Initial wave melanophores colonize more anterior somite areas than do second wave melanophores. However, both groups of cells exhibit preferential colonization of the same anterior sites. It is suggested that second wave melanophores attempt to colonize the same somite areas of the stripe as the initial wave of melanophores but are forced to move to more posterior locations due to the presence of initial wave melanophores anteriorly. Observations were also made on later stages of development of the lateral line melanophore band. These melanophores retain the ability to migrate. Some of them reorient out onto the flank and contribute to the juvenile flank pigment pattern.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fishes / embryology
  • Fishes / growth & development*
  • Melanophores / physiology*
  • Skin Pigmentation*