Differential use of shelter holes by sympatric species of blennies (Blennidae)

Wilson, S.K., Fisher, R., and Pratchett, M.S. (2013) Differential use of shelter holes by sympatric species of blennies (Blennidae). Marine Biology, 160 (9). pp. 2405-2411.

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Abstract

Comparative use of shelter use by three sympatric species of combtooth blenny (Ecsenius stictus, Glyptoparus delicatulus, and Salarias patzneri) was studied among micro-atolls in the lagoon at Lizard Island (14°42′S, 145°30′E), northern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Blenny species used different sized holes; however, the average diameter and depth of holes used by the smallest and largest species differed by only 4 and 25 mm, respectively, indicating interspecific differences in suitable refuge can be very subtle. Both hole diameter and depth were positively related to total length of fish, suggesting use of holes relates to interspecific differences in body size. Total abundance of blennies was best explained by a general linear model that included either the number of holes or total habitat area on individual micro-atolls, predictor variables that were positively correlated with each other. However, the relative importance of variables differed among the three species, feeding area being most important for S. patzneri, feeding area and number of holes for E. stictus, and variance in hole diameter being the best explanatory variable for G. delicatulus abundance. The number of blenny species on a micro-atoll was best explained by variance in hole diameter, emphasizing the influence of refuge size variety in fish diversity. It is likely that subtle habitat partitioning, which relates to interspecific differences in body size, contributes to the co-existence of blenny species within the same microhabitat, but presence of holes is unlikely to regulate abundance of these fish.

Item ID: 28873
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-1793
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2013 23:13
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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