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Pelagic to demersal transition in a coral-reef fish, the orbicular batfish Platax orbicularis


Leis, JM and Hay, AC and Sasal, P and Hicks, AS and Galzin, R, Pelagic to demersal transition in a coral-reef fish, the orbicular batfish Platax orbicularis, Journal of Fish Biology, 83, (3) pp. 466-479. ISSN 0022-1112 (2013) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles and Commonwealth of Australia

DOI: doi:10.1111/jfb.12182


Behavioural and ecological observations were made on young, reared Platax orbicularis in Opunohu Bay, Moorea, French Polynesia, during their transition from the pelagic, dispersive stage to the reeforientated demersal stage. Seventy-two young P. orbicularis (17–75mm standard length, LS) were released in the pelagic zone and 20 (40–70mm LS) adjacent to the reefs. Swimming speed was slow (mean 5·2 cms−1) and independent of size. An ontogenetic descent was observed: the smallest P. orbicularis swam at the surface, medium-sized P. orbicularis swam in midwater (mean 5–13 m) and the largest P. orbicularis swam to the bottom, where many lay on their sides. Platax orbicularis swam southerly on average, away from the ocean and into the bay. Smaller P. orbicularis were more likely to swim directionally than larger individuals. Young P. orbicularis released near reef edges swam at similar, but more variable speeds (mean 6·6 cms−1). About half of those released near reefs swam away, but fewer swam away from an inshore fringing reef than from a patch reef near the bay mouth. Many P. orbicularis swam up the slope onto the reef top, but the little settlement observed was near the reef base. Average, near-reef swimming direction was also southerly. Some reef residents, in particular the triggerfish Balistapus undulatus, harassed young P. orbicularis.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:coral reefs; metamorphosis; orientation; settlement; swimming speed; vertical distribution
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Leis, JM (Dr Jeff Leis)
ID Code:89597
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2014-03-07
Last Modified:2014-06-10

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