Ultraviolet sunscreens in reef fish mucus

Eckes, M. J., Siebeck, U. E., Dove, S. G. and Grutter, A. S. (2008) Ultraviolet sunscreens in reef fish mucus. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 353 203-211. doi:10.3354/meps07210

Author Eckes, M. J.
Siebeck, U. E.
Dove, S. G.
Grutter, A. S.
Title Ultraviolet sunscreens in reef fish mucus
Journal name Marine Ecology Progress Series   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0171-8630
Publication date 2008-01
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3354/meps07210
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 353
Start page 203
End page 211
Total pages 9
Place of publication Oldendorf, Germany
Publisher Inter-Research
Collection year 2009
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Coral reef fishes were recently discovered to have ultraviolet (UV) radiation screening compounds, most commonly known as mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs), in their external body mucus. However, little is known about the identity and quantity of MAAs in the mucus of reef fishes or what factors affect their abundance and distribution. Using spectrophotometry, we examined the relative field UV absorbance of fresh mucus and quantified the UV absorbance per mg of mucus using laboratory UV absorbance for 7 species of reef fishes (Labroides dimidiatus and Thalassoma lunare [Labridae]; Chlorurus sordidus, Scarus flavipectoralis, S. niger, S. rivulatus, and S. schlegelii [Scaridae]) from Queensland, Australia. For the first time in fish mucus, we identified and quantified MAAs using High Performance Liquid Chromatography. In addition, to examine geographical variation in MAAs, MAA absorbance in T. lunare mucus was compared among 3 different locations (Lizard Island, Heron Island, and North Stradbroke Island) on the coast of Queensland. The mucus of all fish investigated contained MAAs. Depending on the species, different combinations and quantities of the MAAs asterina-330, palythene and mycosporine-N-methylamine serine were present. UV absorbance and MAA levels in mucus of T. lunare from North Stradbroke Island were lower (mycosporine-N-methylamine serine) or absent (palythene) compared with mucus from Lizard Island and Heron Island. This study shows that the identity and quantity of MAAs in fish mucus not only varies among species but also within a species sampled in different locations. This suggests that the ecological role of MAAs in fishes is varied and complex and that several factors may affect the type and quantity of MAAs found in the mucus of reef fishes.
Keyword Mycosporine-like Amino Acids
Fish Mucus
Geographical Comparison
Uv Absorbance
Uv Protection
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

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Created: Wed, 26 Nov 2008, 16:12:34 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of Faculty of Science