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Oecologia

, Volume 61, Issue 1, pp 60–69 | Cite as

Determinants of territory size in the pomacentrid reef fish, Parma victoriae

  • M. D. Norman
  • G. P. Jones
Original Papers

Summary

Factors governing the size of territories defended by the pomacentrid reef fish, Parma victoriae, were investigated, prompted by contradictory predictions in the literature concerning the effects of food supply and competitors. Observations were carried out over the non-breeding period (March–October) on a medium density population in which territories were partially contiguous. The territory size of adult fish varied between 3 and 26 m2, and was inversely correlated with local densities of conspecifics. The same range in territory size was found for both males and females, which did not differ in the time they spent on territory defence and foraging activities. No correlation existed between territory size and the abundance of algal food, body size, age or time spent on territory defence. Also, there was little variation in territory size over time, despite seasonal changes in the abundance of food algae.

Experimental reduction of food supplies on isolated territories of males and females had no effect on territory size. In a higher density habitat an experiment was carried out in which population density and food abundance were simultaneously manipulated. This showed that territory size was primarily determined by intraspecific interactions, as territories exhibited considerable increases in size upon removal of neighbours. No changes in the size of defended areas resulted from either artificial increases or decreases of food levels. There were also no changes in the time spent on defence of territories, foraging time or feeding rates associated with food manipulations or territory expansion, which suggested that food was not a limited resource. This conflicted with current theories proposed to explain territory defence and expansion. It is hypothesized that intraspecific interactions constrain territory size well below the optimum in terms of the abundance of preferred food algal species.

Keywords

Food Supply Defend Algal Species Prefer Food Medium Density 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. D. Norman
    • 1
  • G. P. Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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