Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 92, Issue 1, pp 79–88 | Cite as

Harem structure and female territoriality in the dwarf hawkfish Cirrhitichthys falco (Cirrhitidae)

  • Tatsuru KadotaEmail author
  • Jun Osato
  • Hiroaki Hashimoto
  • Yoichi Sakai


We investigated the territoriality and the spatial and mating relationships of the haremic hawkfish, Cirrhitichthys falco, on a reef off Kuchierabu-jima Island in southern Japan. Each individual maintained a territorial home range which was defended against same-sex conspecifics at the boundary of the home range. The territory of each male encompassed the territories of 2–3 females, allowing the male to completely monopolize mating opportunities with those females. Based on our observations, we classified the harem type of C. falco as a territorial female type. Large juveniles maintained independent home ranges outside the female territories. In contrast, small juveniles were allowed to cohabit within the territory of an adult female. Stomach contents analysis revealed that the smallest size class of C. falco fed primarily on copepods. In contrast, all other size classes fed primarily on decapods. Together, these results suggest that female territoriality plays an important role in defending food resources.


Cirrhitidae Diet composition Female territoriality Mating system Polygyny 



We are grateful to the people of Kuchierabu-jima Island for allowing us to conduct the field work. We thank S. Otsuka for providing advice on the identification of food items. We also thank M. Tsuboi, K. Nakamura, K. Nagata, Y. Masui (Blue7C), and Y. Yamane (Blue7C) for their support during the fieldwork. Thanks are also due to K. Gushima and colleagues at the Laboratory of the Biology of Aquatic Resources, Hiroshima University, for their support. Finally, we thank two anonymous reviewers for comments on the manuscript. This study was partly supported by the Mikimoto Fund for Marine Ecology, the Inamori Grants, and a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) (21570026) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. This study was carried out in compliance with the current laws of Japan. We would like to dedicate this study to the memory of the late Y. Yogo, who provided considerable support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tatsuru Kadota
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jun Osato
    • 1
  • Hiroaki Hashimoto
    • 1
  • Yoichi Sakai
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Bioresource Science, Graduate School of Biosphere ScienceHiroshima UniversityHigashi-HiroshimaJapan
  2. 2.Seikai National Fisheries Research Institute, Fisheries Research AgencyNagasakiJapan

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