, Volume 27, Issue 1, p 115
Date: 16 Oct 2007

Non-kin egg cannibalism and group nest-raiding by Caribbean sergeant major damselfish (Abudefduf saxatilis)

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Cannibalism, defined as the act of consuming part or all of an individual belonging to the same species, has been reported in a number of fish (Smith and Reay 1991), and may be promoted through lack of alternative food sources, competition and overcrowding. Damselfish (Pomacentridae) often cannibalise their own offspring (filial cannibalism; Manica 2002); however, non-kin cannibalism is rare. This observation reports the unusual occurrence of both non-kin cannibalism and group nest-raiding in the Caribbean sergeant major damselfish Abudefduf saxatilis, on two shipwrecks (S.S. Stavronikita and Pamir), off the west coast of Barbados, West Indies (13°10′N, 59°30′W).

During spawning periods, sergeant major damselfish males establish territories for reproduction and perform all parental care; while females lay eggs in a uniform monolayer within the males’ territories on large flat surfaces (Fig. 1a). In 2002–2003, A. saxatilis were observed raiding nests of conspecific males in groups of up ...