Seasonality, lunar periodicity of settlement and microhabitat association of juvenile humpback red snapper Lutjanus gibbus (Lutjanidae) in an Okinawan coral reef
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- Nanami, A. & Yamada, H. Mar Biol (2009) 156: 407. doi:10.1007/s00227-008-1093-x
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Snappers (Lutjanidae) are one of the important fisheries resources in tropical and subtropical waters. However, there have been few studies clarifying the ecology of newly settled juvenile snappers. The aims of the present study were to clarify the seasonality and lunar periodicity of the larval settlement, and the microhabitat association of newly settled juveniles for Lutjanus gibbus in an Okinawan coral reef. Fifteen coral patches were chosen and underwater visual surveys were conducted during a 2-year period. The larval settlement of the species mainly occurred between May and October during the 2-year survey period. In terms of lunar periodicity of the settlement, the newly settled juveniles were mainly found between the last quarter moon and new moon during the main settlement season. Back calculations of settlement dates based on otolith microstructure showed that most juveniles settled during the last quarter moon and new moon. Stepwise multiple regression analyses revealed that the newly settled juveniles were mainly found on coral patches with a large number of holes on the top of the coral patch and this tendency was mainly consistent during the study period. The volume of holes at the base of coral patches had also a positive effect on the abundance of newly settled juveniles in some cases. The results of the present study suggest that larval settlement has a strong seasonal and lunar periodicity, and newly settled juveniles select coral patches with available refuge spaces.