Body shape changes during the early development of the Beluga (Huso huso)

Acipenseridae Body shape Ontogeny Morphometrics


April 5, 2013


Early body shape changes of beluga sturgeon were studied using landmark-based geometric morphometric approach to recognize its allometric growth pattern. Sampling was done from hatching up to 50 days post hatching (DPH). Left side of specimens were photographed using digital camera and nine landmark points were digitized on two-dimensional images. Total length (TI) was measured using the software ImageJ. To study of the body shape changes during early development, the mean procrustes distance between all specimens of same age, for all age groups, was calculated. The scores of relative warp analysis (RW) were used as descriptors for the variation in shape. RW analysis revealed a sharp body shape change during early ontogeny on 18 DPH. Growth trajectory was computed by plotting RW against TL. The inflection point of body shape corresponds to a TL of 23.3 mm (18 DPH). Results showed that ontogenetic shape changes encompassed a pre-inflection shape changes, which included the elongation of the head and tail regions i.e. positive allometric growth pattern and post-inflection shape changes, with a nearly isometric growth pattern.