Marine Biology

, Volume 105, Issue 2, pp 259–267 | Cite as

Species composition, community structure and zoogeography of fishes of mangrove estuaries in the Solomon Islands

  • S. J. M. Blaber
  • D. A. Milton


Mangrove estuaries in the Solomon Islands are well developed, but are small and isolated from each other by extensive fringing coral reef lagoons. A total of 136 species of fish were recorded from 13 estuaries (6 estuaries in Kolombangara, 3 in New Georgia, 3 in Rendova and 1 in the Florida Group); none contained more than 50 species. Sampling took place during five 3 wk expeditions from 1986 to 1988. The mean biomass of 11.60 g m−2 is comparable with that of similar estuaries in northern Australia. Cluster-analysis revealed two patterns of fish species composition. The first group, in which Gobiidae were the most numerous taxon, inhabited soft, muddy-bottom estuaries. The second group, dominated by Pomacentridae, lived in hard-bottom, log-strewn estuaries. The role of the estuaries as nursery grounds for coral reef species was assessed and found to be insignificant, but they are used as feeding grounds by mobile piscivorous species. The species composition of Solomon Island estuaries was compared with that of other Indo-Pacific estuaries. No endemic species were found and the fauna is typical of such mangrove systems throughout the region. However, several taxa that are common in Australia or New Guinea were not found, notably Ariidae, Centropomidae,Pomadasys, and Sciaenidae. These absentees, and the fish fauna as a whole, are discussed in relation to the position of the Solomon Islands at the western edge of the Pacific Plate, the effects of deep-ocean trenches, the recent geological origin of the islands, and possible methods of colonisation from nearby mangroves in Australia and New Guinea. The importance of larval durations and dispersal to colonisation are discussed in relation to oceanic circulation patterns in the Solomon Sea.


Coral Reef Solomon Island Pacific Plate Larval Duration Reef Lagoon 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature cited

  1. Barth, H. (1982).The biogeography of mangroves. In: Sen, D. N., Rajpurohit, K. S. (eds.) Tasks for vegetation science. Vol. 2. W. Junk, The Hague, p. 35–60Google Scholar
  2. Blaber, S. J. M. (1980). Fish of the Trinity Inlet system of North Queensland with notes on the ecology of the fish faunas of tropical Indo-Pacific estuaries. Aust. J. mar. Freshwat. Res. 31: 137–146Google Scholar
  3. Blaber, S. J. M., Brewer, D. T., Salini, J. P. (1989). Species composition and biomasses of fishes in different habitats of a tropical northern Australian estuary: their occurrence in the adjoining sea and estuarine dependence. Estuar., cstl Shelf Sci.Google Scholar
  4. Blaber, S. J. M., Young, J. W., Dunning, M. C. (1985). Community structure and zoogeographic affinities of the coastal fishes of the Dampier region of north-western Australia. Aust. J. mar. Freshwat. Res. 36: 247–266Google Scholar
  5. Chua, T.-E. (1973). An ecological study of the Ponggol estuary in Singapore. Hydrobiologia 43: 505–533Google Scholar
  6. Coleman, P. J. (1966). The Solomon Islands as an island arc. Nature, Lond. 211: 1249–1251Google Scholar
  7. Collette, B. B. (1983). Mangrove fishes of New Guinea. In: Teas, H. J. (ed.) Tasks for vegetation science. Vol. 8. W. Junk, The Hague, p. 91–102Google Scholar
  8. Day, J. H. (1974). The ecology of Morrumbene estuary, Mocambique. Trans. R. Soc. S. Afr. 41: 43–97Google Scholar
  9. Gundermann, N., Popper, D. M. (1984). Notes on the Indo-Pacific mangal fishes and on mangrove related fisheries. In: Por, F. D., Dor, I. (eds.) Hydrobiology of the mangal. W. Junk, The Hague, p. 201–206Google Scholar
  10. Haines, A. K. (1979). An ecological survey of fish of the lower Purari River system, Papua New Guinea. Purari River Hydroelectric Scheme Envir. Stud. 6: 1–102 (Office of Environment and Conservation, Papua New Guinea)Google Scholar
  11. Houde, E. D. (1975). Effects of stocking density and food density on survival, growth and yield of laboratory-reared larvae of sea breamArchosargus rhomboidalis (L.) (Sparidae). J. Fish Biol. 7: 115–127Google Scholar
  12. Hutchings, P., Saenger, P. (1987). Ecology of mangroves. University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  13. Inger, R. E. (1955). Ecological notes on the fish fauna of a coastal drainage of North Borneo. Fieldiana, Zool. 37: 47–90Google Scholar
  14. Jones, G. (1985). Revision of the Australian species of the fish family Leiognathidae. Aust. J. mar. Freshwat. Res. 36: 559–613Google Scholar
  15. Krishnamurthy, K., Jeyaseelan, M. J. P. (1981). The early life history of fishes from Pichavaram mangrove ecosystem of India. Rapp. P.-v. Réun. Cons. perm. int. Explor. Mer 178: 416–423Google Scholar
  16. Lal, P., Swamy, K., Singh, P. (1984). “Mangrove ecosystem” fisheries associated with mangroves and their management. Mangrove fishes in Wairiki Creek and their implications on the management of resources in Fiji. UNESCO Rep. mar. Sci. 27: 93–108Google Scholar
  17. Little, M. C., Reay, P. J., Grove, S. J. (1988). The fish community of an east African mangrove creek. J. Fish Biol. 32: 729–747Google Scholar
  18. MacFarlane, J. W. (1980). Surface and bottom sea currents in the Gulf of Papua and western Coral Sea. Res. Bull. Dep. prim. Industry, Pt Moresby, Papua New Guinea 27: 1–128Google Scholar
  19. Milward, N. E. (1982). Mangrove dependent biota. In: Clough, B. F. (ed.) Mangrove ecosystems in Australia: structure, function and management. Australian National University Press, Canberra, Australia, p. 121–139Google Scholar
  20. Munro, I. S. R. (1967). The fishes of New Guinea. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Port Moresby, New GuineaGoogle Scholar
  21. Percival, M., Womersley, J. S. (1975). Floristics and ecology of the mangrove vegetation of Papua New Guinea. Botany Bull., Dep. Forests, Div. Bot., Lae, Papua New Guinea 8: 1–96Google Scholar
  22. Peters, K. M., McMichael, R. H. (1987). Early life history of the red drumSciaenops ocellatus (Pisces: Sciaenidae), in Tampa Bay, Florida. Estuaries 10: 92–107Google Scholar
  23. Por, F. D. (1984). Editor's note on mangal fishes of the world. In: Por, F. D., Dor, I. (eds.) Hydrobiology of the mangal. W. Junk, The Hague, p. 207–210Google Scholar
  24. Quinn, N. J., Kojis, B. J. (1985). Does the presence of coral reefs in proximity to a tropical estuary affect the estuarine fish assemblage. Proc. 5th int. coral Reef Congr. 5: 445–450 [Gabrié et al. (eds.) Antenne Museum — EPHE, Moorea, French Polynesia)Google Scholar
  25. Quinn, N. J., Kojis, B. J. (1986). Annual variation in the nocturnal nekton assemblage of a tropical estuary. Estuar., cstl Shelf Sci. 22: 63–90Google Scholar
  26. Rimmer, M. A., Merrick, J. A. (1982). A review of reproduction and development in the fork-tailed catfishes (Ariidae). Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 107: 41–50Google Scholar
  27. SAS Institute Inc. (1985). The DISCRIM procedure. In: SAS user's guide: statistics. Version 5. SAS Institute Inc. Cary, North Carolina, p. 317–334Google Scholar
  28. Saenger, P., Specht, M. M., Specht, R. L., Chapman, V. J. (1977). Mangal and coastal saltmarsh communities in Australia. In: Chapman, V. J. (ed.) Wet coastal ecosystems. Elsevier, Amsterdam, p. 293–345Google Scholar
  29. Salini, J. P., Shaklee, J. B. (1988). Genetic structure of barramundi (Lates calcarifer) stocks from northern Australia. Aust. J. mar. Freshwat. Res. 39: 317–329Google Scholar
  30. Springer, V. G. (1982). Pacific Plate biogeography with special reference to shorefishes. Smithson. Contr. Zool. 367: 1–182Google Scholar
  31. Stoddart, D. R. (1969). Geomorphology of the Solomon Islands coral reefs. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. (Ser. B) 255: 355–382Google Scholar
  32. Thayer, G. W., Colby, D. R., Hettler, W. F. (1987). Utilization of the red mangrove prop root habitat by fishes in south Florida. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 35: 25–38Google Scholar
  33. Thompson, R. B., Hackman, B. D. (1969). Some geological notes on areas visited by the Royal Society Expedition to the British Solomon Islands, 1965. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. (Ser. B) 255: 189–202Google Scholar
  34. Thresher, R. E. (1984). Reproduction in reef fishes. T.F.H. Publications, New Jersey, USAGoogle Scholar
  35. Whitmore, T. C. (1969). The vegetation of the Solomon Islands. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. (Ser. B) 255: 259–270Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. J. M. Blaber
    • 1
  • D. A. Milton
    • 1
  1. 1.CSIRO Division of FisheriesClevelandAustralia

Personalised recommendations