Marine Biology

, Volume 160, Issue 6, pp 1365–1372 | Cite as

Site fidelity and homing behaviour in intertidal fishes

  • Gemma E. White
  • Culum BrownEmail author
Original Paper


The theory of ecological cognition poses that the brains and behaviour of animals are shaped by the environmental challenges they face in their everyday lives. Site fidelity and homing ability was tested for five species of intertidal rock pool fish by tagging and displacing them to new rock pools at various distances from their ‘home’ rock pools. Three of the species were rock pool specialists whilst the remaining two spend a small proportion of their life in rock pools during early ontogeny. The three specialists showed strong site fidelity with >50 % of individuals found in the same pool 42 days after tagging. In contrast, the non-specialist species showed low fidelity and poor homing abilities. Homing success in the rock pool specialists remained relatively stable as displacement distance increased. The effect of body size on homing ability was species dependent, with only one species showing a significantly greater tendency to home with increasing size.


Intertidal Zone Site Fidelity Resident Species Rock Pool Homing Behaviour 
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.



Many thanks are due to Anthony C. Gill for help with fish identification, Emilie Theurant, Maxime Lalire and Gary White for assistance with fieldwork, Martin Whiting and anonymous reviewers for comments on manuscript and Macquarie University for providing the funds necessary to perform this study.

Supplementary material

227_2013_2188_MOESM1_ESM.doc (50 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 50 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia

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