Colour change in a filefish (Monacanthus chinensis) faced with the challenge of changing backgrounds

Gilby. B. L., Mari, R. A., Bell, E. G., Crawford, E. W., Jun, D., Lederer, B. I., Tibbetts, I. R. and Burfeind, D. D. (2015) Colour change in a filefish (Monacanthus chinensis) faced with the challenge of changing backgrounds. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 98 9: 2021-2029. doi:10.1007/s10641-015-0424-2

Author Gilby. B. L.
Mari, R. A.
Bell, E. G.
Crawford, E. W.
Jun, D.
Lederer, B. I.
Tibbetts, I. R.
Burfeind, D. D.
Title Colour change in a filefish (Monacanthus chinensis) faced with the challenge of changing backgrounds
Journal name Environmental Biology of Fishes   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0378-1909
Publication date 2015-06-03
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10641-015-0424-2
Volume 98
Issue 9
Start page 2021
End page 2029
Total pages 9
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The marine macroalga Caulerpa taxifolia is increasing its distribution worldwide, both within its natural range, where it can replace seagrass following a disturbance, and in areas where it is invasive. C. taxifolia presents a bright green background colouration for inhabitants, while seagrass habitats are typically much deeper green in coloration. The fan-bellied leatherjacket, Monacanthus chinensis inhabits both seagrass Zostera muelleri and C. taxifolia habitats in Moreton Bay, Australia and is camouflaged in these contrasting habitats by brown and bright green colour morphs, respectively. Aquarium experiments measuring colour change of brown and green morphs with respect to contrasting habitats (i.e., brown morphs in C. taxofolia and green morphs in seagrass) revealed that over 21 days, brown morphs significantly altered their skin colouration towards the colouration of green morphs, but green morphs did not alter their colouration. In a habitat preference experiment, brown morphs, which match the colouration of the seagrass, significantly preferred seagrass to C. taxifolia, whilst green morphs showed no preference. We conclude that variations in C. taxifolia coverage present a substantial challenge to this species at short time scales (weeks). This challenge may be overcome by colouration changes at longer timescales assuming fish can survive predation during the adjustment period.
Keyword Caulerpa taxifolia
Habitat change
Habitat selection
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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