The effects of parasites on the early life stages of a damselfish

Sun, D., Blomberg, S. P., Cribb, T. H., McCormick, M. I. and Grutter, A. S. (2012) The effects of parasites on the early life stages of a damselfish. Coral Reefs, 31 4: 1065-1075. doi:10.1007/s00338-012-0929-5

Author Sun, D.
Blomberg, S. P.
Cribb, T. H.
McCormick, M. I.
Grutter, A. S.
Title The effects of parasites on the early life stages of a damselfish
Journal name Coral Reefs   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0722-4028
Publication date 2012-06-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s00338-012-0929-5
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 31
Issue 4
Start page 1065
End page 1075
Total pages 11
Place of publication Heidelberg, Germany
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Abstract Early life history traits, such as larval growth, influence the success of coral reef fish in the transition from the larval to the juvenile life phase. Few studies, however, have examined the relationship between parasites and growth in the early life history stages of such fishes. This study examined how parasite prevalence (% infected) and load, and the relationship between parasite presence and fish growth, differed among life stages of the damselfish Pomacentrus amboinensis. Parasite prevalence decreased significantly between the larval stage, which was sampled immediately before settlement on the reef (97 %) and recently settled juveniles (60 %); prevalence was also high for 4-month-old juveniles (90 %), 7-month-old juveniles (100 %) and adult fish (100 %). Total numbers of parasites per fish decreased dramatically (fourfold) between larval and recently settled fish, and then increased in the older stages to levels similar to those observed in larvae, but they did so more gradually than did prevalence. One explanation for these patterns is that heavily infected larvae were preferentially removed from the population during or soon after settlement. Daily fish growth, determined from otolith increments, revealed that growth did not differ between parasitised and non-parasitised larval fish, whereas recently settled fish that were parasitised had faster growth; these parasitised recently settled fish also displayed faster growth prior to settlement. These data provide evidence that parasites may explain some of the variation in growth and survival observed among coral reef fishes after settlement and thereby have a greater impact on population dynamics than previously understood.
Keyword Coral reef ecology
Fish larvae
Otolith growth
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online: 24 June 2012.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
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Created: Tue, 13 Nov 2012, 22:45:02 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of School of Biological Sciences