Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 303-308

First online:

Benefits of heterospecific foraging by the Caribbean wrasse, Halichoeres garnoti (Pisces: Labridae)

  • Richard B. AronsonAffiliated withDepartment of Pure and Applied Zoology, University of Reading
  • , S. Laurie SandersonAffiliated withMuseum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University

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Terminal-phase yellowhead wrasses, Halichoeres garnoti, foraged alone or in association with foraging goatfish, Pseudupeneus maculatus and Mulloides martinicus. Whereas H. garnoti did not dig for benthic infauna, the goatfish foraged almost exclusively on and in sand substrata. Wrasses in the company of goatfish made significantly more strikes on sand substrata than did solitary wrasses, although there were no significant differences in the frequency of strikes on sand and hard substrata combined. The frequencies of other behaviors (searches, scratches, flights, chases, rests, yawns, and cleanings) were not significantly different between solitary and associated wrasses. H. garnoti are attracted to foraging goatfish, which provide access to an otherwise unavailable food resource.


Behavior Fishes Mixed-species groups Mullidae