Gill stamens are outgrowths on the front side of the gill arch and serve to strain out food organisms in the oral cavity. The shape, size, density of stamens in different species of fish varies depending on the nature of feeding and types of food organisms. The number of gill stamens in fish is an important systematic feature. `
The gill stamens form a kind of filter with which the fish filter out small live food from the water and keep it in their mouth. Depending on the type of fish, the stamens are different in shape and number. In predatory fish (pike, perch, burbot), instead of gill stamens, we see tubercles, while fish that consume the smallest plant and animal organisms of plankton have long, frequent and numerous stamens (grouse, muksun, peled, tugun and others). In whitefish, chira, crucian carp, feeding on large animal food (mollusks, brooks, chironomids, etc.), the stamens are short, rare and few in number.
Mostly single-row and double-row. They border the pharyngeal cavity of the fish. The number of stamens is counted on the first arc, located immediately under the gill cap. The gill stamens serve to filter food entering the mouth of the fish, and at the same time protect the gills from contamination. The structure of the staminate apparatus determines the nature of fish nutrition: in predators, they are rare, short, pointed; in planktophages, they are long, thick, thin, and can form a kind of filter.
Food cannot penetrate outside between the gill arches due to the tightly standing thin gill stamens with their lateral denticles, which pass only water. Thanks to this, food is pushed between the pharyngeal teeth, which crush the coarser parts, and enter the esophagus. And the water comes out through the gill slit, which opens under its pressure. Immediately after this, the gill slit is closed, and the fringe of the gill cap fits snugly to the body under the pressure of external water.
In fish that feed on plankton, the gill apparatus is designed so that it is designed to filter water and retain small organisms from it. Their gill stamens are thin, delicate, and long. For example, in a silver carp feeding on phytoplankton, the gill stamens are characterized by the presence of transverse partitions, thanks to which a "mesh" is formed, with which it can filter food.
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