Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 95, Issue 3, pp 335–346 | Cite as

Laboratory video recordings and underwater visual observations combined to reveal activity rhythm of red-spotted grouper and banded wrasse, and their natural assemblages



The diel activity rhythm of red-spotted grouper Epinephelus akaara was studied both in captivity and in the wild. Behavior of solitary grouper (58 to 397 mm in total length) in a tank was video recorded using infrared illuminators under 11L/10D and two 1.5-h twilight transition periods, and was compared to that of banded wrasse Halichoeres poecilopterus, a typical diurnal fish. Underwater observations using SCUBA were also conducted in their natural habitat to reveal the behavioral activity together with a visual census of adjacent fish and crustacean assemblages. Red-spotted grouper showed a strong nocturnal activity in a tank regardless of body size as opposed to the strongly diurnal banded wrasse. Activity of groupers in natural waters was high at dawn and dusk, low at noon, and only a few individuals were observed at night. Visual census in the habitat revealed that fish abundance and species richness was highest at noon, lowest at night, and intermediate at dawn and dusk. The opposite trend was found in crustacean assemblages. Absence of groupers at night may reflect their nocturnal feeding migration away from the study area. Alternatively, the crepuscular activity of groupers in the wild is suggested to be an adaptation to feed on small fishes that shift between daytime activity and nighttime rest and/or on nocturnal crustaceans that show the opposite activity pattern.


Crepuscular activity Diel variation Epinephelus akaara Fish assemblages Twilight Underwater visual census 



We thank T. Yokota and J.S. Burke who provided valuable criticism on the early version of the manuscript. Comments from two anonymous reviewers substantially improved the quality of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reiji Masuda
    • 1
  • Katsuhiro Matsuda
    • 2
  • Masaru Tanaka
    • 3
  1. 1.Maizuru Fisheries Research StationKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Kyushu Branch, Ajinomoto Co., IncFukuokaJapan
  3. 3.International Institute for Advanced StudiesKyotoJapan

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