The ecological significance of the combtoothed blenny in a coral reef ecosystem

Townsend, K. A. and Tibbetts, I. R. (2004) The ecological significance of the combtoothed blenny in a coral reef ecosystem. Journal of Fish Biology, 65 1: 77-90. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8649.2004.00426.x

Author Townsend, K. A.
Tibbetts, I. R.
Title The ecological significance of the combtoothed blenny in a coral reef ecosystem
Journal name Journal of Fish Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-1112
Publication date 2004-01-01
Year available 2004
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1095-8649.2004.00426.x
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 65
Issue 1
Start page 77
End page 90
Total pages 14
Editor J F Craig
Place of publication Oxford, UK
Publisher Blackwell
Language eng
Subject C1
270501 Animal Systematics, Taxonomy and Phylogeny
780105 Biological sciences
Abstract At Heron Island reef, Great Barrier Reef Australia, biomass densities and mean wet mass of Ward's damselfish Pomacentrus wardi and the jewelled blenny Salarias fasciatus were not significantly different at 2-37 v. 2-95 g m(-2) and 8-7 v. 7-9 g, respectively. Whereas S. fasciatus significantly exceeded P. wardi in (1) total number of bites per day (3427 v. 1155), (2) the mass of epilithic algal community consumed per bite (2-19 1,. 0-14mg) and (3) total organic carbon consumed per day (487-31 v. 35-46 mg C m(-2) day(-1)). Territorial behaviour differed also between the two species. Pomacentrus wardi chased from their territories a smaller proportion of blennies than roving grazers (i.e. scarids, acanthurids, siganids and pomacentrids) relative to S. fasciatus. Salarias fasciatus chased c. 90% of other blennies from their territories, while chasing only c. 20% of all damsels that entered. Both P. wardi and S. fasciatus rarely chased non-grazers. The chasing behaviour of S. fascialus was size dependent, with resident fish chasing only individuals of its own family (i.e. Blenniidae) that were the same or smaller size. Pomacentrus wardi may have tolerated S. fasciatus grazing within its territory, as it contributes to territory defence from other blennies. The possibility that the interaction between the two species is facilitative, rather than competitive, is discussed. It was concluded that salariine blennies play an important, and previously underestimated role in coral reef trophodynamics. (C) 2004 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.
Keyword Fisheries
Marine & Freshwater Biology
Coral Reef Fishes
Territorial Grazers
Foraging Periodicity
Feeding Selectivity
Species Composition
Herbivorous Fish
Q-Index Code C1
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 14:49:48 EST