Biological Invasions

, Volume 20, Issue 12, pp 3499–3512 | Cite as

Habitat utilization by an invasive herbivorous fish (Siganus rivulatus) in its native and invaded range

  • Renanel S. M. Pickholtz
  • Moshe Kiflawi
  • Alan M. Friedlander
  • Jonathan Belmaker
Original Paper


Movement is essential for understanding the distribution and abundance of animals. While it has been suggested that invasion success can be facilitated by species’ ability to adapt to novel environments, direct comparisons of movement patterns between native and invaded ranges of animals in their natural habitat are rare. The rivulated rabbitfish Siganus rivulatus was introduced from the Red Sea into the Mediterranean, where it is now found in extremely high abundances, and has overgrazed the coastal marine ecosystem in many locations. Through a continuous acoustic tracking system, we found that the movement of S. rivulatus individuals at a Mediterranean site differed substantially from those at a Red Sea site, with individuals in the Mediterranean having larger overall home ranges and lower site fidelity. However, no variation between sites was found in daily home range sizes. Results show that at the Mediterranean site S. rivulatus individuals have a larger spatial footprint, which may contribute to their impact and ability to expand their distribution. This study demonstrates a potential shift in individual movement of a marine invasive species between its native and invaded range, and highlights the role of movement in understanding biological invasions.


Invasive species Habitat utilization Movement Reef fish Mediterranean Sea Red Sea 



This study has been made possible thanks to funding by the PADI Foundation (#14289). The Mediterranean Sea Research Center of Israel (MERCI) and The Zoological Society of Israel, supported RP’s professional training, directly related to this manuscript. We wish to wholeheartedly thank Dr. Shirli Bar-David for her insights and input, to Dr. Dror Angel for acoustic transmitters, and to MS. Adi Barash for handling data of underwater fish surveys. We would also like to thank the reviewers for taking the time to provide thoughtful and meaningful comments regarding the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethics declaration

The research presented in this thesis was conducted according to the ethical guidelines, specified by the Veterinarian Service Center, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University. The proposed research methodology received permission from the experimentation ethics review committee (under permit approval #L-15-043). Fish from the coral reef of Eilat were collected with permission from the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) (under permit approval #2013/40106, #2014/40245).

Supplementary material

10530_2018_1790_MOESM1_ESM.docx (368 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 367 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Zoology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life SciencesTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  2. 2.The Interuniversity Institute for Marine SciencesEilatIsrael
  3. 3.Department of Life-SciencesBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShevaIsrael
  4. 4.Pristine Seas, National Geographic SocietyWashingtonUSA
  5. 5.Fisheries Ecology Research LabUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA
  6. 6.Steinhart Museum of Natural HistoryTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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