Determinants of social organization in a coral reef fish, the blue tang, Acanthurus coeruleus Article Received: 06 February 2004 Accepted: 30 July 2004 DOI:
10.1007/s10641-004-2861-1 Cite this article as: Morgan, I.E. & Kramer, D.L. Environ Biol Fish (2005) 72: 443. doi:10.1007/s10641-004-2861-1 Synopsis
We examined the abundance of blue tang surgeonfish,
Acanthurus coeruleus, in each of three social modes (schooling, territorial, and wandering) in relation to size class, ecological variables, population density and time of day to discern potential determinants of social organization. We found individuals from all three social modes in all four fringing reef habitats (back reef, flat, crest and spur and groove zones) at our main site. Territorial tang density was highest in the flat zone, lowest in the spur and groove zone and negatively related to adult damselfish density. A higher proportion of tangs formed schools in reef zones with the highest densities of territorial damselfishes (spur and groove, crest). In the back reef and flat zones, where damselfish densities were very low, tangs rarely formed schools. Tangs in the wandering mode were most abundant in the back reef. 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