Ontogenetic foraging activity and feeding selectivity of the Brazilian endemic parrotfishScarus zelindae

Pereira, Pedro H.C., Santos, Marcus, Lippi, Daniel L., and Silva, Pedro (2016) Ontogenetic foraging activity and feeding selectivity of the Brazilian endemic parrotfishScarus zelindae. PeerJ, 4. e2536. pp. 1-15.

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Parrotfish are fundamental species in controlling algal phase-shifts and ensuring the resilience of coral reefs. Nevertheless, little is known on their ecological role in the south-western Atlantic Ocean. The present study analysed the ontogenetic foraging activity and feeding selectivity of the Brazilian endemic parrotfish Scarus zelindae using behavioural observation and benthic composition analyses. We found a significant negative relationship between fish size and feeding rates for S. zelindae individuals. Thus, terminal phase individuals forage with lower feeding rates compared to juveniles and initial phase individuals. The highest relative foraging frequency of S. zelindae was on epilithic algae matrix (EAM) with similar values for juveniles (86.6%), initial phase (88.1%) and terminal phase (88.6%) individuals. The second preferred benthos for juveniles was sponge (11.6%) compared with initial (4.5%) and terminal life phases (1.3%). Different life phases of S. zelindae foraged on different benthos according to their availability. Based on Ivlev's electivity index, juveniles selected EAM and sponge, while initial phase and terminal phase individuals only selected EAM. Our findings demonstrate that the foraging frequency of the endemic parrotfish S. zelindae is reduced according to body size and that there is a slight ontogenetic change in feeding selectivity. Therefore, ecological knowledge of ontogenetic variations on resource use is critical for the remaining parrotfish populations which have been dramatically reduced in the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean.

Item ID: 49245
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2167-8359
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© Copyright 2016 Pereira et al. Distributed under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0

Funders: Rufford Small Grants (RSG), Idea Wild, IMAT, Mohamed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, CNPq
Projects and Grants: IMAT (Grupo de Ictiologia Marinha Tropical - UFPE), CNPq 165782/2015-3
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2017 23:57
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 80%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310901 Animal behaviour @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 80%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 20%
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