, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 35-42

Zooplankton capture by a coral reef fish: an adaptive response to evasive prey

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High-speed cinematography and video using modified Schlieren optics and laser illumination helped elicit details of prey capture mechanisms used by Chromis viridis while feeding on calanoid copepods and Artemia. Chromis viridis is capable of a ram-jaw, low-suction feeding, as well as a typical suction feeding behavior described for other species of planktivores. By adjusting the degree of jaw protrusion and amount of suction used during a feeding strike, this fish can modulate its feeding strikes according to the prey type being encountered. The ram-jaw feeding mode enables C. viridis to capture highly evasive calanoid copepods within 6 to 10 msec. The use of specialized feeding behavior for evasive prey and the ability to vary feeding behavior are adaptations for feeding on evasive prey.