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Foraging in corallivorous butterflyfish varies with wave exposure


Noble, MM and Pratchett, MS and Coker, DJ and Cvitanovic, C and Fulton, CJ, Foraging in corallivorous butterflyfish varies with wave exposure, Coral Reefs, 33, (2) pp. 351-361. ISSN 0722-4028 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00338-014-1140-7


Understanding the foraging patterns of reef fishes is crucial for determining patterns of resource use and the sensitivity of species to environmental change. While changes in prey availability and interspecific competition have been linked to patterns of prey selection, body condition, and survival in coral reef fishes, rarely has the influence of abiotic environmental conditions on foraging been considered. We used underwater digital video to explore how prey availability and wave exposure influence the behavioural time budgets and prey selectivity of four species of obligate coral-feeding butterflyfishes. All four species displayed high selectivity towards live hard corals, both in terms of time invested and frequency of searching and feeding events. However, our novel analysis revealed that such selectivity was sensitive to wave exposure in some species, despite there being no significant differences in the availability of each prey category across exposures. In most cases, these obligate corallivores increased their selectivity towards their most favoured prey types at sites of high wave exposure. This suggests there are costs to foraging under different wave environments that can shape the foraging patterns of butterflyfishes in concert with other conditions such as prey availability, interspecific competition, and territoriality. Given that energy acquisition is crucial to the survival and fitness of fishes, we highlight how such environmental forcing of foraging behaviour may influence the ecological response of species to the ubiquitous and highly variable wave climates of shallow coral reefs.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:fish swimming, feeding behaviour
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Cvitanovic, C (Dr Christopher Cvitanovic)
ID Code:105186
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2015-12-12
Last Modified:2017-11-02

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