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Behavior of larval butterflyfishes (Teleostei: Chaetodontidae) at settlement on coral reefs


Leis, JM and Yerman, MN, Behavior of larval butterflyfishes (Teleostei: Chaetodontidae) at settlement on coral reefs, Copeia, 2012, (2) pp. 211-221. ISSN 0045-8511 (2012) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists

DOI: doi:10.1643/CE-10-185


Behavior of settlement-stage (1017 mm SL) larvae of five chaetodontid species (Chaetodon auriga, C. aureofasciatus, C. rainfordi, C. plebeius, and Chelmon rostratus) captured in light traps was investigated in open water and over coral reefs at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef. Average swimming speeds of all species in open water (1826 cm s−1) were greater than average current speeds; larvae swam several meters deeper off the deeper east side of the island than off the west side, and most larvae swam directionally. Near coral reefs, about 37% of larvae swam offshore at speeds that were frequently greater than those at which they swam toward or over reefs. After a mean of 5 min, 40% of larvae reaching reefs swam away offshore, many after harassment by resident fishes. About 5% were eaten; the rest settled in a mean of 2 min. Chaetodon plebeius never settled. Non-predatory resident fishes strongly influenced the distribution of butterflyfish settlers. The three species that settled in usable numbers had species-specific settlement depths and substratum, primarily live corals. Comparing these results to studies on larger juveniles shows that individuals become increasingly selective about habitat (usually coral taxa) as they grow. Larval settlement behavior of chaetodontids is more similar to that of pomacentrids than that of lutjanids or serranids, but some features are shared by all families.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
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:94104
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:8
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2014-08-29
Last Modified:2014-09-01

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