Presettlement schooling behaviour of a priacanthid, the Purplespotted Bigeye Priacanthus tayenus (Priacanthidae: Teleostei)
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We report in situ behavioural observations of presettlement schooling in Priacanthus tayenus off Coral Bay, Western Australia collected using pelagic Baited Remote Underwater stereo-Video systems. Two groups of fish (8 and 9 individuals) were observed that aggregated into a single school. Mean total length was 24.1 mm (12.5–30.2 mm). The fish swam at a mean speed of 8.5 cm s−1 in a group spacing themselves more or less evenly at a distance of around one body length from the nearest neighbour within the school. P. tayenus appeared to be sometimes associated with juveniles of other species. The results presented here add to the limited, but growing body of literature on the schooling behaviour of the early pelagic stages of demersal fishes.
KeywordsPelagic juvenile reef fish Mid-water baited remote underwater stereo-video Demersal fish Ningaloo Reef Western Australia
The authors would like to gratefully thank Wayne Starnes for his assistance with species identification and advice. We thank S. Bennett and S. Andrews for assistance with fieldwork and H. Twose for the illustration. JSG was supported by a Scholarship for International Research Fees, a University Postgraduate Award (International) from the University of Western Australia, a UWA Safety-Net Top-Up Scholarship and funding from the School of Plant Biology. This work was undertaken under the approval of UWA Animal Ethics (RA/3/100/1035) and Department of Environment and Conservation permit SF008486.
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