Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 96, Issue 8, pp 961–969

Territoriality of the omnivorous butterflyfish, Chaetodon auriga (Chaetodontidae)


DOI: 10.1007/s10641-012-0093-3

Cite this article as:
Rendall, K.L. Environ Biol Fish (2013) 96: 961. doi:10.1007/s10641-012-0093-3


Butterflyfish research has focused on corallivorous species, with little attention paid to the other, equally abundant, omnivorous and planktivorous species. This study sought to explore the nature of ranging behaviour of the omnivorous butterflyfish, Chaetodon auriga, across two geographic regions. Pairs of C. auriga defended non-overlapping territories, ranging in area from 97.44 m2 to 2281.64 m2. Mean territory area varied among study sites while remaining consistent between geographic regions. Most of the variation in territory area was explained by variation in butterflyfish density, while damselfish density, total fish density, and percent sand cover inside territories were also correlated with territory area. Benthic assemblages of territories did not mirror study sites, suggesting that territory establishment is non-random. At all study sites, Chaetodon auriga exhibited significant selection in its patterns of habitat resource use. These results highlight the importance of research on generalist butterflyfishes as damage to coral reef ecosystems continues to threaten their specialist counterparts.


Butterflyfish Chaetodon auriga Territoriality Fish density Habitat 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Guam Marine LaboratoryMangilaoUSA

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