CRANIAL OSTEOLOGY OF CYCLARHIS GUJANENSIS (AVES: VIREONIDAE)
AbstractThe small passerine Cyclaris gujanensis can tear into small pieces large or heavy-bodied preys that could not be swallowed whole such as frogs, snakes, bats and birds. However there are few studies on the cranial anatomy of this species. Thus, we focused on the description of the cranial osteology to contribute to the anatomical knowledge of this species and to make some assumptions about functional anatomy. The fossa temporalis is shallow but broad and the fossa of os palatinum is deepened. The os quadratum processes are long and thick. The os pterygoideum is enlarged and the upper jaw is strongly inclined ventrally (140°) with reference to the skull. The rostral extremity of rhamphotheca is hooked with ventral concavity to fit the mandible (pincer form). The mandible fossae are deepened and broad and its bulky medial process probably provides mandible stability and strong support to the muscles attached on it. All these peculiar characteristics probably indicate a considerable force in the C. gujanensis jaws and partially explain its distinctive feeding habit compared with the other Vireonidae. Nevertheless, new studies with functional approaches to analysis the forces of the muscle fibers and the cranial kinesis are needed to prove the hypotheses mentioned above.
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