Ocular anatomy of the black pacu (Colossoma macropomum): Gross, histologic, and diagnostic imaging

Kate A. Gustavsen, Joanne R. Paul-Murphy, Ernest Scott Weber, Allison L. Zwingenberger, Freeland H. Dunker, Richard R. Dubielzig, Christopher Michael Reilly, Christopher J. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe the ocular anatomy of the black pacu (Colossoma macropomum), a freshwater teleost fish of the Amazon River basin, including an unusual choroid laden with adipose tissue. Procedures: Three adult black pacu were anesthetized and examined clinically and with ocular ultrasonography, then euthanized. Three fish were euthanized and their heads imaged immediately postmortem using computed tomography. One fish was euthanized and its exenterated eyes imaged by high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging. The exenterated eyes of all seven fish were fixed in formalin; eyes from three fish were examined grossly and histologically. Additionally, archived histologic sections from two smaller black pacu specimens were examined. Results: Findings were consistent among the ocular imaging modalities used. Intrinsic to the sclera were circumferential ossicles and scleral cartilage. The lens was spherical and protruded through the ovoid pupil with an aphakic space inferiorly when the accommodative mechanism was relaxed under anesthesia. Both a small falciform process and epiretinal vasculature were present in the posterior segment. The retina was cone-rich, and processes of the retinal pigment epithelium enveloped the photoreceptor outer segments. Remarkably, the choroid occupied one-third of the anteroposterior length of the globe; histology confirmed that the bulk of the choroid was composed of adipose tissue. Conclusions: The eye of the pacu overall is typical of teleosts but has the notable and consistent finding of a substantive store of choroidal fat of unknown function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalVeterinary Ophthalmology
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Black pacu
  • Choroid
  • Choroidal fat
  • Eye
  • Fish
  • Tambaquí

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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