Distribution, movements and diet of nocturnal fishes on temperate reefs

Annese, Danielle M., and Kingsford, Michael J. (2005) Distribution, movements and diet of nocturnal fishes on temperate reefs. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 72 (2). pp. 161-174.

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We counted nocturnal fishes both day and night, and monitored the position of tagged individuals on temperate reefs in New South Wales, Australia. Pempheris affinis and P. multiradiata were the most abundant nocturnal planktivores on Sydneyrsquos rocky reefs and showed great differences in diel migration behaviour. Both species were observed in deep shelter sites during the day (5–10thinspm), and most emerged into the water column at night. P. multiradiata was found to undergo extensive vertical and horizontal migrations. In contrast, P. affinis remained within daytime depth strata, with tagged individuals often moving less than 20thinspm at night. Tagged adult P. affinis returned to tagging sites for up to 7thinspweeks, indicating high site fidelity. Dietary analysis demonstrated that small and large pempherids differed in diet and the timing of foraging, suggesting a size-based transition from diurnal to nocturnal foraging. Stratified sampling of planktonic assemblages at different depths during the day and night showed spatial variation in the availability of prey items at different times of the day. Amphipods, the main prey of large fish, were only available during the night, and concentrated in shallow water, whereas decapod larvae, consumed mainly by small fish, were abundant day and night. Large P. affinis also fed on polychaetes, which were never found in the stomachs of P. multiradiata, suggesting that these species may have different prey requirements, or that these polychaetes are only found in deep water where foraging P. affinis were abundant. We found no general model for the Pempheridae. The movements and behaviour of nocturnal fishes varied greatly by species, and this may be due to differences in body size, and/or physiological (e.g. visual ability) and ecological constraints.

Item ID: 6273
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-5133
Keywords: bullseyes; diel patterns; pempherididae; plankton; site fidelity; tagging
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2010 02:11
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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