Marine Biology

, Volume 105, Issue 2, pp 259–267

Species composition, community structure and zoogeography of fishes of mangrove estuaries in the Solomon Islands

  • S. J. M. Blaber
  • D. A. Milton

DOI: 10.1007/BF01344295

Cite this article as:
Blaber, S.J.M. & Milton, D.A. Mar. Biol. (1990) 105: 259. doi:10.1007/BF01344295


Mangrove estuaries in the Solomon Islands are well developed, but are small and isolated from each other by extensive fringing coral reef lagoons. A total of 136 species of fish were recorded from 13 estuaries (6 estuaries in Kolombangara, 3 in New Georgia, 3 in Rendova and 1 in the Florida Group); none contained more than 50 species. Sampling took place during five 3 wk expeditions from 1986 to 1988. The mean biomass of 11.60 g m−2 is comparable with that of similar estuaries in northern Australia. Cluster-analysis revealed two patterns of fish species composition. The first group, in which Gobiidae were the most numerous taxon, inhabited soft, muddy-bottom estuaries. The second group, dominated by Pomacentridae, lived in hard-bottom, log-strewn estuaries. The role of the estuaries as nursery grounds for coral reef species was assessed and found to be insignificant, but they are used as feeding grounds by mobile piscivorous species. The species composition of Solomon Island estuaries was compared with that of other Indo-Pacific estuaries. No endemic species were found and the fauna is typical of such mangrove systems throughout the region. However, several taxa that are common in Australia or New Guinea were not found, notably Ariidae, Centropomidae,Pomadasys, and Sciaenidae. These absentees, and the fish fauna as a whole, are discussed in relation to the position of the Solomon Islands at the western edge of the Pacific Plate, the effects of deep-ocean trenches, the recent geological origin of the islands, and possible methods of colonisation from nearby mangroves in Australia and New Guinea. The importance of larval durations and dispersal to colonisation are discussed in relation to oceanic circulation patterns in the Solomon Sea.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. J. M. Blaber
    • 1
  • D. A. Milton
    • 1
  1. 1.CSIRO Division of FisheriesClevelandAustralia

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