Novel Interaction between a Rabbitfish and Black Corals

Gress Hernandez, Erika, Bridge, Tom, Fyfe, Justin, and Galbraith, Gemma (2023) Novel Interaction between a Rabbitfish and Black Corals. Oceans, 4. pp. 236-241.

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Herbivorous fishes play important functional roles in coral reef ecosystems, and their influence on mediating competitive dynamics between corals and macroalgae is well studied. Nonetheless, direct interactions between herbivorous fishes and corals may also be relevant, although these are less studied. Here, we describe a series of observations of schools of the herbivorous streaked rabbitfish (Siganus javus) nibbling on black corals (order Antipatharia) at the SS Yongala wreck, within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. We provide a hypothesis that may explain this behaviour, which, if confirmed, would represent a mechanism influencing the health of the corals. Moreover, this interaction extends the typical coral–algae competition for space paradigm and furthers knowledge of complex relationships between coral reef organisms.

Item ID: 79447
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2673-1924
Copyright Information: © 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Research Data:,
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2023 00:04
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180504 Marine biodiversity @ 100%
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