Site fidelity and homing behaviour in intertidal fishes
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- White, G.E. & Brown, C. Mar Biol (2013) 160: 1365. doi:10.1007/s00227-013-2188-6
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The theory of ecological cognition poses that the brains and behaviour of animals are shaped by the environmental challenges they face in their everyday lives. Site fidelity and homing ability was tested for five species of intertidal rock pool fish by tagging and displacing them to new rock pools at various distances from their ‘home’ rock pools. Three of the species were rock pool specialists whilst the remaining two spend a small proportion of their life in rock pools during early ontogeny. The three specialists showed strong site fidelity with >50 % of individuals found in the same pool 42 days after tagging. In contrast, the non-specialist species showed low fidelity and poor homing abilities. Homing success in the rock pool specialists remained relatively stable as displacement distance increased. The effect of body size on homing ability was species dependent, with only one species showing a significantly greater tendency to home with increasing size.