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WEBERIAN OSSICLES

Definition

A chain of small bones (tripus, intercalaria, scaphium and claustrum) which run along both sides of the vertebral column in some bony fishes and connect the anterior part of the swimbladder with the labyrinth. They are a specific feature of the Ostariophysi and originate from anterior vertebrae. They are of high taxonomic importance. The Weberian ossicles are comparable to the acoustic apparatus of terrestrial vertebrates, although fishes do not possess a middle ear. Some bony fishes (catfishes, cyprinids) use the swimbladder as resonance chamber thereby transmitting vibrations to the inner ear via the Weberian ossicles.

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