“Teeth-anchorage”: sleeping behavior of a Red Sea filefish on a branching coral
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KeywordsCoral Reef Coral Community Strong Light Dead Branch Water Coral
Some members of the Monacanthidae are known to be territorial and have preferred sleeping spots (Wüest 1993). Here, however, we describe for the first time an “anchoring” sleeping behavior of Amanses scopes, unknown from other fishes. We believe that we observed the very same individual on all occasions, since this species is rare in the area (pers. obs.); in addition, we observed this fish six times during day time at the same site. Although it is known that filefish are corallivores (Randall 1964), we suggest that the negligible damage to the first coral, (visible in Fig. 1a, b), was not due to predation but rather to the night-after-night tooth-hold of the fish and concomitant branch-tip abrasion. We suggest that this sleeping behavior may prevent A. scopes from being swept away by strong currents, provide shelter from predators, keep the fish away from contact with the substratum (i.e., avoiding abrasion), and possibly prevent attack by ectoparasites (gnathiid isopods) known to attack fishes while sleeping on the substrate (Grutter et al. 2011).
- Wüest U (1993) Über des Schlafverhalten des Harlekin-Feilenfisches Oxymonacanthus halli. Natur und Museum 123(2):56–59Google Scholar