Marine Biology

, Volume 154, Issue 3, pp 577–592 | Cite as

Differences in feeding ecology among three co-occurring species of wrasse (Teleostei: Labridae) on rocky reefs of temperate Australia

  • Jason K. Morton
  • Margaret E. Platell
  • William Gladstone
Research Article

Abstract

The foraging behaviours and dietary compositions of three co-occurring labrids (Ophthalmolepis lineolatus, Notolabrus gymnogenis and Pictilabrus laticlavius), which are conspicuous on rocky reefs in temperate south-eastern Australia, were investigated between 2003 and 2005. SCUBA observations at two locations showed that the feeding intensity, and hence the associated effects of these fishes on rocky reef invertebrate prey, was temporally consistent. Relative differences in the contributions of ingested prey and use of different feeding microhabitats demonstrated that the feeding ecology differed significantly among the three species. Thus, O. lineolatus fed on proportionately higher volumes of polychaetes, polyplacophorans, marginellid gastropods (especially Austroginella sp.), bivalves and echinoids, which were sighted opportunistically in a wide selection of microhabitats, but particularly in sand/rubble. Ambush hunting was used regularly by smaller N. gymnogenis and all sizes of P. laticlavius to forage on amphipods, small decapods and small gastropods at algal bases or fronds and Diopatra dentata tubes. Amphipods were similarly important in the diet of smaller O. lineolatus. Larger N. gymnogenis foraged opportunistically over an increased reef area and made greater use of microhabitats that offered minimal prey refuge (e.g. sand/rubble, bare rock/steel) from which common prey, in particular decapods, were obtained. The significant intra- and inter-specific differences in dietary compositions, allied with differences in the use of feeding microhabitats, would facilitate co-occurrence of these three conspicuous species and contribute to maintaining high richness of labrid species in reef systems. Echinoids were regularly consumed by each species but they made a moderate contribution to the diet of only O. lineolatus, which suggests that only one of the three labrids is likely to play a significant role in regulation of echinoid densities in these rocky reef habitats. However, the broad diets and diverse forging strategies employed by these labrid species imply that they have a system-wide influence on invertebrate prey on rocky reefs.

Notes

Acknowledgments

Our gratitude is extended to all divers for assisting with the filming of labrid behaviour, in particular D. Powter, R. Ramos, M R. Shokri, V. Owen, K. Cribb, M. Kennedy, S. Gray, G. Campbell, L. Greive, J. Alvarez, G. Courtney and M. Jacewicz. We also thank B. Hay and M. Saunders for providing commercially-caught fish and B. Neuschulz, S. Mors and S. Lindfield for providing fish and for dive assistance. Thanks also to I. Potter, S. Shepherd and three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. This research was supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) scholarship with part funding provided by Avondale College and the University of Newcastle, NSW. The experiments in this study comply with current Australian law.

References

  1. Andrew N (ed) (1999) Under southern seas: the ecology of Australia’s rocky shores. University of New South Wales Press, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  2. Andrew N, Constable A (1999) Sea urchins. In: Andrew N (ed) Under southern seas: the ecology of Australia’s rocky shores. University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, pp 126–135Google Scholar
  3. Choat JH (1982) Fish feeding and the structure of benthic communities in temperate waters. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 13:423–449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Clarke KR (1993) Non-parametric multivariate analyses of changes in community structure. Aust J Ecol 18:117–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Clarke KR, Gorley RN (2001) Primer v5: user manual/tutorial. PRIMER-E. Plymouth Marine Laboratory, PlymouthGoogle Scholar
  6. Clifton KB, Motta PJ (1998) Feeding morphology, diet, and ecomorphological relationships among five Caribbean labrids (Teleostei, Labridae). Copeia 4:953–966CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Curley BG, Kingsford MJ, Gillanders BM (2002) Spatial and habitat-related patterns of temperate reef fish assemblages: implications for the design of marine protected areas. Mar Freshwater Res 53:1197–1210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Denny CM, Schiel DR (2001) Feeding ecology of the banded wrasse Notolabrus fucicola (Labridae) in southern New Zealand: prey items, seasonal differences, and ontogenetic variation. N Z J Mar Freshw Res 35:925–933Google Scholar
  9. Depczynski M, Bellwood DR (2003) The role of cryptobenthic reef fishes in coral reef trophodynamics. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 256:183–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Duffy JE, Hay ME (2000) Strong impacts of grazing amphipods on the organisation of a benthic community. Ecol Monogr 70:237–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Edgar GJ (2001) Australian marine habitats in temperate waters. Reed New Holland, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  12. Fulton CJ, Bellwood DR (2002) Patterns of foraging in labrid fishes. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 226:135–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fulton CJ, Bellwood DR (2004) Wave exposure, swimming performance, and the structure of tropical and temperate reef fish assemblages. Mar Biol 144:429–437CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gillanders BM (1995) Feeding ecology of the temperate marine fish Achoerodus viridis (Labridae): size, seasonal and site-specific differences. Mar Freshwater Res 46:1009–1020CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gillanders BM (1999) Blue groper. In: Andrew N (ed) Under southern seas: the ecology of Australia’s rocky shores. University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, pp 188–193Google Scholar
  16. Gladstone W (1988) Correlates and possible costs of reproductive success in males of a haremic coral reef fish. Proceedings of the 6th international coral reef symposium, Australia, vol 2, pp 693–698Google Scholar
  17. Gladstone W (2007) Requirements for marine protected areas to conserve the biodiversity of rocky reef fishes. Aquat Conserv Mar Freshw Ecosyst 17:71–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Helfman GS, Collette BB, Facey DE (1997) The diversity of fishes. Blackwell Science, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  19. Hoffman SG (1983) Sex-related foraging behaviour in sequentially hermaphroditic hogfishes (Bodianus spp.). Environ Biol Fish 14:185–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Humphries P (1993) A comparison of the mouth morphology of three co-occurring species of atherinid. J Fish Biol 42:585–593CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hyndes GA, Platell ME, Potter IC (1997) Relationships between diet and body size, mouth morphology, habitat and movements of six sillaginid species in coastal waters: implications for resource partitioning. Mar Biol 128:585–598CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hyslop EJ (1980) Stomach contents analysis—a review of methods and their application. J Fish Biol 17:411–429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jones GP (1988) Ecology of rocky reef fish of north-eastern New Zealand: a review. N Z J Mar Freshw Res 22:445–462Google Scholar
  24. Jones GP (1999) The wrasses. In: Andrew N (ed) Under southern seas: the ecology of Australia’s rocky shores. University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, pp 180–187Google Scholar
  25. Karpouzi VS, Stergiou KI (2003) The relationships between mouth size and shape and body length for 18 species of marine fishes and their trophic implications. J Fish Biol 62:1353–1365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kuiter RH (1993) Coastal fishes of south-eastern Australia. Crawford House Press, BathurstGoogle Scholar
  27. Lehner PN (1996) Handbook of ethological methods. 2nd edn. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  28. Linke TE, Platell ME, Potter IC (2001) Factors influencing the partitioning of food resources among six fish species in a large embayment with juxtaposing bare sand and seagrass habitats. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 266:193–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. MacArthur LD, Hyndes GA (2007) Varying foraging strategies of Labridae in seagrass habitats: herbivory in temperate seagrass meadows? J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 340:247–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mariani S, Maccaroni A, Massa F, Rampacci M, Tancioni L (2002) Lack of consistency between trophic interrelationships of five sparid species in two adjacent Mediterranean coastal lagoons. J Fish Biol 61:138–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Martha K, Jones M (2002) Behavioural overlap in six Caribbean labrid species: intra- and interspecific similarities. Environ Biol Fish 65:71–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McCormick MI (1995) Fish feeding on mobile benthic invertebrates: influence of spatial variability in habitat associations. Mar Biol 121:627–637CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Morton JK (2007) The ecology of three species of wrasse (Pisces: Labridae) on temperate rocky reefs of New South Wales, Australia. Ph.D. thesis, University of Newcastle, Newcastle http://www.newcastle.edu.au/service/library/adt/public/adt-NNCU20070809.135654/index.html
  34. Parry GD (1982) Patterns of mortality in four species of intertidal limpet from south eastern Australia. Ecol Monogr 52:65–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Platell ME, Potter IC (1999) Partitioning of habitat and prey by abundant and similar-sized species of the Triglidae and Pempherididae (Teleostei) in coastal waters. Est Coast Shelf Sci 48:235–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Platell ME, Potter IC (2001) Partitioning of food resources amongst 18 abundant benthic carnivorous fish species in marine waters on the lower west coast of Australia. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 261:31–54PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Platell ME, Sarre GA, Potter IC (1997) The diets of two co-occurring marine teleosts, Parequula melbournensis and Pseudocaranx wrighti, and their relationships to body size and mouth morphology, and the season and location of capture. Environ Biol Fish 49:361–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Platell ME, Potter IC, Clarke KR (1998a) Resource partitioning by four species of elasmobranchs (Batoidea: Urolophidae) in coastal waters of temperate Australia. Mar Biol 131:719–734CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Platell ME, Potter IC, Clarke KR (1998b) Do the habitats, mouth morphology and diets of the mullids Upeneichthys stotii and U. lineatus in coastal waters of south-western Australia differ? J Fish Biol 52:398–418Google Scholar
  40. Ross ST (1986) Resource partitioning in fish assemblages: a review of field studies. Copeia 1986:352–388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Russell BC (1983) The food and feeding habitat of rocky reef fish of north-eastern New Zealand. N Z J Mar Freshw Res 17:121–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sala E (1997) Fish predators and scavengers of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus in protected areas of the north-west Mediterranean Sea. Mar Biol 129:531–539CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Schiel DR (1994) Kelp communities. In: Hammond LS, Synnot RN (eds) Marine biology. Longman Cheshire, Melbourne, pp 345–361Google Scholar
  44. Shepherd SA (1998) Studies on southern Australian abalone (genus Haliotis) XIX. Long-term juvenile mortality dynamics. J Shellfish Res 17:813–825Google Scholar
  45. Shepherd SA (2006) Ontogenetic changes in diet, feeding behaviour and activity of the western blue groper, Achoerodus gouldii. In: Proceedings of the 12th international marine biology workshop in Esperance WA, February 2003. Records of the Western Australian Museum, pp 477–494Google Scholar
  46. Shepherd SA, Brook JB (2005) Foraging ecology of the western blue groper, Achoerodus gouldii, at the Althorpe Islands, South Australia. Trans R Soc S Aust 129:202–208Google Scholar
  47. Shepherd SA, Clarkson PS (2001) Diet, feeding behaviour, activity and predation of the temperate blue-throated wrasse, Notolabrus tetricus. Mar Freshwater Res 52:311–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Somerfield PJ, Clarke KR (1997) A comparison of some methods commonly used for the collection of sublittoral sediments and their associated fauna. Mar Environ Res 43:145–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Steinberg P, Kendrick G (1999) Kelp forests. In: Andrew N (ed) Under southern seas: the ecology of Australia’s rocky shores. University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, pp 60–71Google Scholar
  50. Underwood AJ (1981) Techniques of analysis of variance in experimental marine biology and ecology. Oceanogr Mar Biol Ann Rev 19:513–605Google Scholar
  51. Underwood AJ, Kingsford MJ, Andrew NL (1991) Patterns in shallow subtidal marine assemblages along the coast of New South Wales. Aust J Ecol 6:231–249Google Scholar
  52. Wainwright PC (1988) Morphology and ecology: functional basis of feeding constraints in Caribbean labrid fishes. Ecology 69:635–645CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wootton RJ (1998) Ecology of teleost fishes. 2nd edn. Kluwer, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason K. Morton
    • 1
    • 2
  • Margaret E. Platell
    • 1
  • William Gladstone
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Environmental and Life SciencesUniversity of Newcastle (Ourimbah Campus)OurimbahAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Science and MathematicsAvondale CollegeCooranbongAustralia

Personalised recommendations