Pair-­formation in coral reef fishes: an ecological perspective

Brandl, Simon J., and Bellwood, David R. (2014) Pair-­formation in coral reef fishes: an ecological perspective. Oceanography and Marine Biology: an annual review, 52. pp. 1-80.

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Pair-formation is a common social system among animals. However, the use of the term 'pair-formation' is often ambiguous, and the assumed reproductive importance of pairing often supersedes consideration of aspects that are more social or ecological. This review provides a new social-ecological definition of pair-formation, examines the prevalence of pair- formation among coral reef fishes, and assesses the ecological and reproductive characteristics of pair- forming reef fishes. Of 1981 Indo- Pacific reef fish species examined in this review, 341 (17.2%) are reported to live in pairs. Pair forming has been reported in 29 families, with 5 families (Malacanthidae, Chaetodontidae, Siganidae, Syngnathidae, Ptereleotridae) having more than half of their species reported to form pairs. Two traits appear to favour the formation of social, cooperative pairs: (1) foraging on small, benthic, and relatively immobile prey; and (2) living in burrows. In contrast, there are limited similarities among pair- forming species with regard to their mating system or spawning mode. It appears that the basis of pair- formation in reef fishes is complex and may involve a range of ecological factors related to food procurement and predation risk.

Item ID: 39238
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0078-3218
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2015 06:04
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