Morphology and Functional Ontogeny of the Digestive Tract of Barbus Altianalis Larvae

The ontogenetic development of digestive structures in Ripon barbel (Barbus altianalis) larvae was investigated using standard histological and histochemical procedures from hatching up to 60 days after hatching (DAH). The study was conducted to determine the best period of exogenous feeding and the stage when the digestive tract is able to digest processed microdiets. Results indicated that at hatching, the digestive tract, mouth and anus were closed. The opening of the mouth and anus were observed 3–4 DAH, whereas complete separation of the entire gut was observed on 5 DAH. Exogenous feeding started 5–6 DAH, but complete yolk exhaustion occurred 7–8 DAH, indicating a period of mixed feeding. Mucosal epithelial folds were first noted 3 DAH in the anterior intestine and became profound with some goblet cells (mucous cells) by 6 DAH. At 7 DAH the mucous cells had started secreting both neutral and acid glycoconjugates. The first intestinal single loop occurred at 28–30 DAH and a double loop at 45–50 DAH. Each coiling was proceeded by larval weight increase. By 7 DAH the buccopharyngeal cavity was lined by a layer of squamous epithelial cells with scattered goblet cells and tastebuds that became numerous by 15 DAH. At hatching, the liver and the pancreas were undifferentiated, but on 3 DAH the hepatocytes and zymogen granules of the pancreas became clear. By 7 DAH both organs enlarged, making extensions into the posterior. Intestines coiling at 28–30 DAH coincided with the beginning of external dressing of the scales, a period when B. altianalis started transforming into a juvenile. By 7–8 DAH the digestive structure showed all the necessary digestive features that could enable the larvae to digest any compound diet suggesting that it may be feasible to substitute or offer a complete microdiet during larvae nursing with reduced larval mortality.
exogenous feeding, microdiet mucin, ontogenetic development
Aruho, C., Walakira, J. K., Bugenyi, F., Rutaisire, J., & Reading, B. J. (2019). Morphology and functional ontogeny of the digestive tract of Barbus altianali s larvae. African Zoology, 54(3), 137-149.