Teeth and skin teeth (denticles), collectively named odontodes, are usually associated with the physical roles of cutting, protection or drag reduction in fishes [1,2]. These structures are composed of a soft pulp surrounded by dentine and covered by a mineralized substance such as enamel . Odontodes arise from neural crest cells and epithelium and are often innervated [1-3]. However, little is known about their possible sensory function. Here, we demonstrate for the first time a mechanosensory role for denticles in a cavefish endemic to a fast water flow cave. All fishes gather hydrodynamic information via specialized sense organs called neuromasts [4-6]. Some fishes are especially attentive to such type of information  and until now hypertrophy of the neuromast system has been reported as the main constructive sensory adaptation in cavefishes [6,7]. We expect that the mechanosensory nature of denticles highlighted in this cave fish species might reflect a widespread sensory role for these structures in other animals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)