2003 Volume 45 Issue 4 Pages 213-221
Juveniles of the Mekong giant catfish, Pangasianodon gigas (Teleostei), have 3 sorts of toothupper and lower jaw teeth, palatal teeth, and pharyngeal teeth-but adults are toothless. To investigate the histogenesis and disappearance of the teeth, we made serial sections of the mouth and teeth of juvenile fish at 10 developmental stages (from ca. 8.5 to ca. 30 cm in total length) and examined them under scanning electron microscope and light microscope. Observations of teeth and surrounding tissues in the serial sections revealed the process of tooth resorption by active odontoclast-like cells. Numbers of jaw and palatal teeth decreased with age. When the fish reached ca. 14 cm in total length, the numbers of functional upper jaw teeth and successional tooth germs decreased rapidly, and the developmental rate of successional tooth germs slowed. When the fish reached ca. 24 cm, no teeth existed in the upper jaw. It is clear that tooth disappearance results from the shedding of functional teeth and the lack of replacement tooth germs.