2022 AMI Online Salon

How Black Drum Crush and Consume Hard-Shell Prey

Project Details

  • Entrant Name:  Miranda Stano
  • Client: Jack Cover, Tim Phelps, Jeff Day
  • Copyright:  Miranda Stano, 2022
  • Medium/software used: Adobe Photoshop
  • Final presentation format: Poster
  • Primary Audience: Lay Audience, National Aquarium Visitors

Project Description

The black drum, Pogonias cromis, is estimated to have the strongest bite force of any living animal, a characteristic that enables the fish to feed on a variety of hard-shell prey. This impressive ability is made possible by the fish’s specialized anatomy, which employs a powerful set of pharyngeal jaws and rigid molariform teeth to break down the defenses of prey. Former visuals of this subject were limited to a scientific audience and lacked clarity. To rectify this issue, aquarium curators desired an engaging and scientifically accurate poster to instill exhibit visitors with an appreciation for the black drum’s unique adaptations and the types of prey it consumes. On the left side of the piece, illustrations depict the pharyngeal jaws, highlighting their location in the head and the primary muscles involved in leveraging bite force. On the right, another illustration presents the isolated pharyngeal toothplates, while an inset provides a cross section of the inner tooth layers. The poster displays the primary prey of the black drum as well as the fish’s size and feeding behavior. The easily legible font and color choices visually enhance the piece while ensuring that it is accessible to a wide audience, especially viewers with color blindness.