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Botia chewing mechanism

Posted By: Iris <Iris6@aol.com>
Date: Friday, 28 July 2000, at 6:22 p.m.

I have something possibly interesting to report - scientific types please jump in.

My modestas have become so bold that they will now eat right in front of me, instead of hiding to consume their food. I watched the entire food-consumption process last night. Here's what I saw:

Modesta picks up food in mouth (an Aquaricare Earthworm Sinker) which is shaped like a small cylinder and is about 1/3 of an inch long (the sizes vary, this was a big one). She picked it up by the end and proceeded to slowly pull it lengthwise into her mouth (I'm assuming this is a "she" because of body shape.) She also seemed to be working her throat vigorously while doing this, and sometimes would "pump" her gills as well. So, the process was: pull it in a little, work throat and pump gills, pull it in a little more, wait a few seconds, work throat and gills again, etc. until the food was entirely consumed. This was a big piece of food and it took her about a minute, maybe more, to complete the process. At one point she seemed to have pulled in too much and worked her throat very vigorously and extended her subocular spines, which gave the exact impression of a human looking bug-eyed while trying to swallow something too big!

OK, I've heard that loaches can't chew. I've also heard that they have teeth in the throat like minnows.

She did appear to be using her throat to chew the food. The idea seemed to be to hang on to the food until it was softened in the mouth, swallow a part into the throat, chew it, then pull the food further in, soften and chew again, until finished.

(She then immediately grabbed a spirulina sinker and repeated the process with it. What a pig...)


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