NUTR3002 Comparative Digestive Anatomy

NUTR3002 Comparative Digestive Anatomy

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NUTR3002 Comparative Digestive Anatomy

Learning outcomes:

  1. To become familiar in identifying digestive anatomy
  2. To be able to calculate the gut length to body length ratio and determine differences between carnivorous and. herbivore teleosts.
  3. To identify special adaptations in fish (spiral valves), impacted intestinal length, pyloric caecae.


Recognizing that each species have the ability to digest feed at different capacities is pertinent when determining their feed requirements. Commencing with their mouth, the structure (examples: suction; gape size; quantity of teeth) will enable optimum feeding ability. Gape size is relative to their body size and is key when determining pellet size requirements. Anatomically, the ratio of intestinal length: body length varies between species and their feed source (Table 1.0). A herbivorous and detritivorous fish, where the diet that is dominantly consisted of indigestible matter tend to have longer intestines than those that contain a carnivorous diet.

Table 1.0- The intestinal lengths of a range of fish species in relation to their feeding habits (Source Jobling: 1998).


  1. Video: Module 2 Lab: Comparative Teleost Digestive Anatomy
  2. Excel file Module 2 Fish Nutrition Anatomy containing data from six Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus), Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) and Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). Please make note of the recorded units when analyzing the data.


Follow previously provided Guidelines for Reports. Be sure to format Tables and Figures properly.

  1. Abstract (10%): A summary of the report in one paragraph, no more than half a page. State the main findings for each tested species. Never cite references. Never cite figures. Do not repeat information already in the title.
  2. Introduction (20%): 3/4 to 1 page max. Introduce each species and their native habitat. State their relevance in aquaculture. Consider using the following terms: euryphagous, stenophagous, and monophagous.
  3. Materials and methods: Include statement ‘refer to video’. State software used to analyze findings.
  4. Results- Tables and Figures (30%): Table 1: Prepare a Table including characteristics such as a) mean number of pyloric caeca; b) teeth orientation; c) number of gill rakers; d) herbivorous/ carnivorous / omnivorous.

Table 2: Prepare a Table including mean and standard error for each of the 3 species: a) ratio of gape size to fork length; b) ratio of oesophagus: fork length; c) ratio of stomach length : fork length; d) total length of intestinal tract (oesophagus to anus): fork length. Beneath the table, report the results in one or two paragraphs.

Figure 1: Calculate the relative intestinal length:

[(mean pyloric caeca ( if present) x number of pyloric caeca) + (total intestinal length)]

Fork length

With data from all three species, prepare a scatterplot regression graph- fork length (X-axis), relative intestinal length (Y-axis).

Beneath each table and figure include a summary of findings.


5.Discussion (30%): Discuss the feeding mechanisms, source of prey and habitat for each species: Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus), Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) and Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). State how these mechanisms would influence aquaculture practices. End the discussion with a short summary: “In conclusion…..”


  1. References: (10%): List only the references cited in your report following formatting guidelines.
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