Non-consumptive effects of native and invasive predators on juvenile Caribbean parrotfish

Eaton, Lewis, Sloman, Katherine A., Wilson, Rod W., Gill, Andrew B. and Harborne, Alastair R. (2016) Non-consumptive effects of native and invasive predators on juvenile Caribbean parrotfish. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 99 5: 499-508. doi:10.1007/s10641-016-0486-9

Author Eaton, Lewis
Sloman, Katherine A.
Wilson, Rod W.
Gill, Andrew B.
Harborne, Alastair R.
Title Non-consumptive effects of native and invasive predators on juvenile Caribbean parrotfish
Journal name Environmental Biology of Fishes   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1573-5133
Publication date 2016-05
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10641-016-0486-9
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 99
Issue 5
Start page 499
End page 508
Total pages 10
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Non-consumptive effects of predators can have important impacts on aquatic food webs, but there are few data on how predators change the behaviour of Caribbean reef fishes. Such changes may include behavioural responses to the invasive predatory lionfish (Pterois volitans/P. miles). This study used an aquarium experiment to examine the behaviour of herbivorous parrotfish (Scarus iseri) in the absence of other fish (control), with a non-piscivore present, and with a predatory threat from a native grouper or lionfish. Treatments were repeated with and without additional parrotfish shelters to examine the potential effects of degraded reefs (loss of refuges). Using video, parrotfish behaviours (sheltering, swimming in open areas, foraging, aggressive conspecific interactions, bite rates, and shoaling behaviour) were recorded for groups of four parrotfish. Compared to the control, the average number of parrotfish hiding was reduced by 65 % and foraging shoals were 10 % larger when threatened by grouper, likely as a specific response to an ambush predator. When exposed to lionfish, parrotfish reduced their bite rates by 50 %, possibly to be more vigilant of this predator’s unique stalking behaviour. The absence of additional shelter had limited effects although parrotfish formed 10 % larger shoals when swimming in open water, potentially as a defensive behaviour because of a perceived lack of refuges. The reduction in parrotfish bite rates caused by lionfish may have important demographic consequences. Furthermore, parrotfishes are important grazers of macroalgae, and these behavioural changes may exacerbate the direct effects of lionfish predation and potentially affect reef benthic dynamics.
Keyword Grazing
Scarus iseri
The Bahamas
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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