Marine Biology

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 109–119

Twilight migrations and foraging activities of the copper sweeper Pempheris schomburgki (Teleostei: Pempheridae)

  • W. B. Gladfelter
Article

Abstract

During 1976 and 1977, movements and foraging activities of Pempheris schomburgki were studied on the shallow coral reefs of northeastern St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. P. schomburgki emerge from daytime refuges on the backreef at about local sunset. Fifteen to 20 min after sunset, local milling groups move beyond the confines of the reef and assemble into larger groups. Twenty-five to 30 min after sunset they move in several waves along complex routes through the reef to forereef feeding grounds. Migrations of up to 1 km occur along the forereef. The reverse sequence occurs in the morning, but is earlier with respect to ambient light levels. The principal stages of these activities appear to be triggered by a combination of absolute light level, rate of change of light and state of adaptation of the eye. Migrating aggregations gradually split up into small, well-dispersed feeding groups, relatively evenly spaced along the forereef. Few individuals feed on the backreef. The principal available food consists of meroplanktonic crustaceans not available during the daytime. P. schomburgki mainly select the larger-sized individuals (mean length 5 to 6 mm), although some particles less than 1 mm are taken. These events probably represent adaptations to optimize diurnal sheltering sites, feeding grounds and the avoidance of predator activity.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature cited

  1. Alldredge, A.L. and J.M. King: Distribution, abundance, and substrate preferences of demersal reef zooplankton at Lizard Island Lagoon, Great Barrier Reef. Mar. Biol. 41, 317–333 (1977)Google Scholar
  2. Bardach, J.E.: On the movements of certain Bermuda reef fishes. Ecology 39, 139–146 (1958)Google Scholar
  3. Collette, B.B. and F.H. Talbot: Activity patterns of coral reef fishes with emphasis on nocturnal-diurnal changeover Sci. Bull. nat. Hist. Mus. Los Ang. Cty 14, 98–124 (1972)Google Scholar
  4. Davis, W.P. and R.S. Birdsong: Coral reef fishes which forage in the water column. Helgoländer wiss. Meeresunters. 24, 292–306 (1973)Google Scholar
  5. Domm, S.B. and A.J. Domm: The sequence of appearance at dawn and disappearance at dusk of some coral reef fishes. Pacif. Sci. 27, 128–135 (1973)Google Scholar
  6. Emery, A.R.: Preliminary observations on coral reef plankton. Limnol. Oceanogr. 13, 293–303 (1968)Google Scholar
  7. Fishelson, L., D. Popper and N. Gunderman: Diurnal cyclic behavior of Pempheris oualensis (Pempheridae, Teleostei). J. nat. Hist. 5, 503–506 (1971)Google Scholar
  8. Hiatt, R.W. and D.W. Strasburg: Ecological relationships of the fish fauna on coral reefs on the Marshall Islands. Ecol. Monogr. 30, 64–127 (1960)Google Scholar
  9. Hobson, E.S.: Diurnal-nocturnal activity of some inshore fishes in the Gulf of California. Copeia 1965(3), 291–302 (1965)Google Scholar
  10. —: Predatory behavior of some shore fishes in the Gulf of California. U.S. Bur. Sport. Fish Wildl. Res. Rep. 73, 1–92 (1968)Google Scholar
  11. —: Activity of Hawaiian reef fishes during the evening and morning transitions between day-light and darkness. Fish. Bull. U.S. 70, 715–740 (1972)Google Scholar
  12. —: Diel feeding migrations in tropical reef fishes. Helgoländer wiss. Meeresunters. 24, 361–370 (1973)Google Scholar
  13. —: Feeding relationships of teleostean fishes on coral reefs in Kona, Hawaii. Fish. Bull. U.S. 72, 915–1031 (1974)Google Scholar
  14. — and J.R. Chess: Feeding oriented movements of the atherinid fish Pranesus pinguis at Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands. Fish. Bull. U.S. 71, 777–786 (1973)Google Scholar
  15. ——: Trophic interactions among fishes and zooplankters near shore at Santa Catalina Island, California. Fish. Bull. U.S. 74, 567–598 (1976)Google Scholar
  16. ——: Trophic relationships among fishes and plankton in the lagoon at Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands. Fish. Bull. U.S. 76, 133–153 (1978)Google Scholar
  17. Jørgensen, C.B.: Biology of suspension feeding, 357 pp. Oxford: Pergamon Press 1966Google Scholar
  18. Major, P.F.: Predator-prey interactions in schooling fishes during periods of twilight: a study of the silverside Pranesus insularum in Hawaii. Fish. Bull. U.S. 75, 415–426 (1977)Google Scholar
  19. Munz, F.W. and W.N. McFarland: The significance of spectral position in the rhodopsins of tropical marine fishes. Vision Res. 13, 1829–1874 (1973)Google Scholar
  20. Ogden, J.C. and N.S. Buckman: Movements, foraging groups and diurnal migrations of the striped parrotfish Scarus croicensis Block (Scaridae). Ecology 54, 589–596 (1973)Google Scholar
  21. — and P.R. Ehrlich: The behavior of heterotypic resting schools of juvenile grunts (Pomadasyidae). Mar. Biol. 42, 273–280 (1977)Google Scholar
  22. Porter, J.W. and K.G. Porter: Quantitative sampling of demersal plankton migrating from different coral reef substrates. Limnol. Oceanogr. 22, 553–556 (1977)Google Scholar
  23. Randall, J.: Food habits of reef fishes of the West Indies. Stud. trop. Oceanogr., Miami 5, 665–847 (1967)Google Scholar
  24. Sale, P.F., P.S. McWilliam and D.T. Anderson: Composition of the near-reef zooplankton at Heron Reef, Great Barrier Reef. Mar. Biol. 34, 59–66 (1976)Google Scholar
  25. Starck, W.A. and W.P. Davis: Night habits of fishes of Alligator Reef, Florida. Ichthyologica 38, 313–356 (1966)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. B. Gladfelter
    • 1
  1. 1.West Indies LaboratoryFairleigh Dickinson UniversitySt. CroixUSA

Personalised recommendations