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Predator and population density control of homing behavior in the Caribbean echinoid Diadema antillarum

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The frequency of homing behavior (percent returns to the same crevice) of Diadema antillarum Philippi varied from 30 to 84% among areas. Frequency of homing was positively correlated with predator abundance and negatively the protective quality of crevices and more readily vacates low quality crevices than more protective ones when a simulated predation attempt occurs. Previously grazed portions of the foraging range of homing individuals do not appear to be regrazed on successive nights and an avoidance of such areas is suggested. This predator-mediated behavior pattern and its effects on coral reef communities may be a tropical analog to predator-sea urchin-algal relationships in temperate marine communities.

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Contribution of the Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia and Contribution No. 123 of the West Indies Laboratory, Fairleigh Dickinson University

Communicated by J. M. Lawrence, Tampa

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Carpenter, R.C. Predator and population density control of homing behavior in the Caribbean echinoid Diadema antillarum . Mar. Biol. 82, 101–108 (1984).

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  • Population Density
  • Coral Reef
  • Behavior Pattern
  • Reef Community
  • Predator Abundance