The majority of aquatic vertebrates are suction feeders: by rapidly expanding the mouth cavity they generate a fluid flow outside of their head in order to draw prey into their mouth. In addition to the biological relevance, the generated flow field is interesting fluid mechanically as it incorporates high velocities, is localized in front of the mouth, and is unsteady, typically lasting between 10 and 50 ms. Using manometry and high-speed particle image velocimetry, this is the first study to quantify pressure within and outside the mouth of a feeding fish while simultaneously measuring the velocity field outside the mouth. Measurements with a high temporal (2 ms) and spatial (<1 mm) resolution were made for several feeding events of a single largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides). General properties of the flow were evaluated, including the transient velocity field, its relationship to pressure within the mouth and pressure at the prey. We find that throughout the feeding event a relationship exists for the magnitude of fluid speed as a function of distance from the predator mouth that is based on scaling the velocity field according to the size of the mouth opening and the magnitude of fluid speed at the mouth. The velocity field is concentrated within an area extending approximately one mouth diameter from the fish and the generated pressure field is even more local to the mouth aperture. Although peak suction pressures measured inside the mouth were slightly larger than those that were predicted using the equations of motion, we find that these equations give a very accurate prediction of the timing of peak pressure, so long as the unsteady nature of the flow is included.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 12, 2007
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