Convict cichlid fish scale (Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum)
Copyright 2009 Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.
Caption: Convict cichlid fish scale with growth rings (Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum). The convict cichlid, Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum (formerly known as Archocentrus nigrofasciatum), is a laterally compressed cichlid with an oval body shape. The body color is white to very light gray with eight or nine transverse black bars. It is an aggressive fish despite its size. Convict cichlids have ctenoid fish scales. As the fish grows the fish scales grow with a pattern of concentric growth rings. These growth rings increase in number with the scale size and appear similar to those found in the cross section of tree trunks. In some cases, ctenoid scale growth patterns are utilized to determine the age of a fish. There are four main types of scales: placoid, ganoid, ctenoid, and cycloid. Fish scales are dermally derived, specifically in the mesoderm. This fact distinguishes them from reptile scales. Scales are the overlapping series of hard plates that cover a fish's body. Scales serve to protect the body from the outside dangers such as predators and infection. Not all fish share the same kind of scales. Fish scales are covered with fish skin, a fine layer of epithelial cells. Fish skin like many other vertebrates (amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals) consists of two principal layers - superficial epidermis and deeper dermis. The epidermis consists of two or more layers. The deepest is a series of closely packed, discrete cells called the germinal layer, or stratum germinativum. The outer epidermal cells are formed from the germinal layer. Body fish slimes are produced by epidermal cells and their degradation. Epidermal cells can have highly convoluted surfaces that retain slime, which has a primary function of protection from pathogens and parasites. Magnification*: x50 Type: SEM
*(Magnifications are based on a 35mm slide image of 24mm in the narrow dimension.)