Dietary selection by coral-feeding butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae) on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Pratchett, Morgan S. (2007) Dietary selection by coral-feeding butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae) on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology: Supplement Series, 14. pp. 171-176.

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Abstract

This study explored dietary selection among 14 species of coral-feeding butterflyfishes at Lizard Island in the Northern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. All 14 butterflyfishes studied (Chaetodon aureofasciatus, C. baronessa, C. citrinellus, C. kleinii, C. lunula, C. lunulatus, C. melannotus, C. plebeius, C. rafflesii, C. rainfordi, C. speculum, C. trifascialis, C. ulietensis and C. unimaculatus) exhibited significant dietary selection, consuming one or more coral species disporportionately to their availability. The most selective of these butterflyfishes was C. trifascialis, which selectively consumed Acropora corals (especially A. hyacinthus) to the exclusion of other prey corals. There were notable differences in the degree of selectivity exhibited among coral-feeding butterflyfishes, but there was a high degree of concordance in their apparent feeding preferences. Notably, most coral-feeding butterflyfishes predominantly selected A. hyacinthus and secondarily Pocillopora damicornis. Observed selectivity in the dietary habits of coral-feeding butterflyfishes may influence their spatial and temporal patterns of abundance and is likely to be fundamental in determining their responses to major disturbances (e.g. climate-induced coral bleaching), which alter the availability of different corals.

Item ID: 4879
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0217-2445
Keywords: Chaetodon, coral reef fishes, feeding preferences, selectivity
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Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2009 23:23
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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