, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 119-127

Feeding diets and significance of coral feeding among Chaetodontid fishes in Moorea (French Polynesia)

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The feeding diets of 18 Chaetodontid fishes from a coral reef of Moorea (French Polynesia) were studied by quantitative analysis of their stomach contents. Three major types of feeding behaviours were distinguished. Sixteen species essentially ingested coral polyps. Among these species, 5 were exclusive coral browsers and the others displayed more heterogeneous diets. One species was a plankton feeder and the other consumed benthic invertebrates other than corals. The importance of coral consumption on the reef by Chaetodontid fishes was estimated knowing the feeding diets and density of species in the various biota. Moreover, the species which were previously observed as quantitatively dominant in the different reef zones, were found to be exclusive coral browsers. Besides, the proportion between obligative and facultative coral feeders was found to be relatively constant on the reef, emphasizing that a balance is established among the Chaetodontid species occupying the same habitat for the resource partitioning.