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Similar cryptic behaviour during the early juvenile phase of two unrelated reef fishes: Epinephelides armatus and Bodianus frenchii

Fairclough, D.V. (2016) Similar cryptic behaviour during the early juvenile phase of two unrelated reef fishes: Epinephelides armatus and Bodianus frenchii. Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology, 49 (2). pp. 109-117.

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Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10236244.2015.1125122
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Abstract

The juveniles of many reef fishes behave cryptically during critical juvenile stages in their life history and thus the microhabitats they often occupy are not well known. Comprehensive surveys of reef fishes on the temperate mid-west coast of Australia identified that juveniles of the unrelated Epinephelides armatus (Epinephelidae) and Bodianus frenchii (Labridae) < 100 mm total length both exhibit cryptic behaviour by exclusively swimming upside down under cave roofs and ledges. These individuals swam among the sponges and small algae in this microhabitat which would provide refuge from predation and also supply the dietary requirements of these two carnivores. Occupying this microhabitat would also reduce intra-specific competition, as individuals > 150 mm were only observed swimming ventrally oriented to the substrate in caves, under ledges or on open reef. Identifying the nursery habitats of fishery species, such as E. armatus and B. frenchii, is critical for understanding their life histories, but would also inform survey designs aimed at determining recruitment strength or variation.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Ltd
Copyright: © 2016 Crown Copyright in the Commonwealth of Australia
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/29768
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