, Volume 70, Issue 1, pp 81-90

Temporal Fluctuations and Settlement Patterns of Native and Lessepsian Herbivorous Fishes on the Lebanese Coast (Eastern Mediterranean)

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

We provide here the first information on the abundance, settlement patterns and microhabitat use of settlers of two Lessepsian siganid species, Siganus rivulatus and S. luridus, in comparison with the two main native herbivores, Sparisoma cretense (Scaridae) and Sarpa salpa (Sparidae). S. rivulatus was the most abundant species (72%), followed by S. cretense (20%) and S. luridus (8%), whereas S. salpa was rare (<1%). A clear pattern of settlement could be established for S. rivulatus and S. cretense, with similar timing in 1999 and 2000. S. cretense settled in schools late June, while S. rivulatus settled mid-July. A few solitary settlers of S. luridus were observed in July and August, but none of S. salpa. All these herbivorous fish species settled in protected shallow areas offering hard substrates and algal communities. S. rivulatus was the most tolerant and adaptable species, able to settle on a large range of substrates and habitats, including rock pools, muddy harbours and sea grass beds. In the eastern Mediterranean Sea, S. rivulatus might have benefited from a release of competition pressure due to the low diversity and abundance of native herbivores. It has probably replaced S. salpa on the coast of Lebanon, being more competitive than the native sparid.