Coral Reefs

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 105–112 | Cite as

Effects of seaweed extracts and secondary metabolites on feeding by the herbivorous surgeonfish Naso lituratus

  • K. D. Meyer
  • V. J. Paul
  • H. R. Sanger
  • S. G. Nelson


We examined 22 species of algae and two species of seagrasses from coral reef habitats around Guam to determine if they possessed chemical defenses against the acanthurid Naso lituratus. Whole plants (18 species) were offered to determine whether they were preferred or avoided by N. lituratus in the laboratory. Organic extracts of 15 algae and one seagrass were applied to palatable seaweeds and offered to N. lituratus in the laboratory to determine if the seaweeds were chemically defended. Extracts that deterred feeding were further fractionated if sufficient amounts were available, and the fractions and associated pure compounds were tested in similar feeding assays. N. lituratus was significantly deterred from feeding by crude extracts from five different species of algae: Avrainvillea obscura, Bryopsis pennata, grazed Halimeda macroloba, Neomeris annulata, and Portieria (=Desmia) hornemannii. The pure compounds avrainvilleol from A. obseura, ochtodene from P. hornemannii, one fraction and one brominated sesquiterpene from N. annulata, and two fractions from T. expeditionis also deterred feeding. These results, together with previous work, suggest that tropical herbivorous fishes differ in their responses to plant chemistry, and this variability precludes broad generalization about the effects of marine plant secondary metabolites on herbivorous fishes.


Secondary Metabolite Coral Reef Sedimentology Pure Compound Chemical Defense 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. D. Meyer
    • 1
  • V. J. Paul
    • 1
  • H. R. Sanger
    • 1
  • S. G. Nelson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Guam Marine LaboratoryMangilao, GuamUSA

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