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The structure of fish follower-feeding associations at three oceanic islands in southwestern Atlantic

  • K. Y. InagakiEmail author
  • T. C. Mendes
  • J. P. Quimbayo
  • M. Cantor
  • I. Sazima
Article

Abstract

Structurally complex and competitive environments such as reef habitats may promote alternative behavioural feeding tactics in fishes. An understudied behavioural tactic is the follower-feeding association, in which individuals of a species follow (called “follower”) and benefit from the foraging activities of individuals of another species that disturbs the substrate (called “nuclear”). Here, we investigated the incidence of this tactic at three oceanic islands in the southwestern Atlantic by characterizing pairwise, and the emergent network of follower-feeding associations. We quantified associations among species according to their trophic categories, activity period, and group size. The incidence of follower-feeding associations was higher at islands with higher species richness, but the proportion of associations per species was higher at islands with lower species richness. Overall, mobile invertebrate-feeders, omnivores and macrocarnivores were the most common trophic categories engaged in this tactic. Most of follower-feeding associations involved diurnal species, which indicates that followers rely on visual cues to engage in this tactic. We also found that nuclear species were mainly solitary, while followers tended to aggregate in small- to medium-sized groups. Our study indicates that follower-feeding association is an opportunistic yet frequent feeding tactic at oceanic islands, which may stem from resource partitioning in such remote habitats.

Keywords

Fish feeding relationships Nuclear-follower associations Commensalism Ecological interactions Brazilian province 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was part of the research program “Programa de Monitoramento de Longa Duração das Comunidades Recifais de Ilhas Oceânicas – PELD” (441241/2016-6, Carlos E.L. Ferreira-PI). K.Y.I. received scholarships from Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)– Finance Code 001– and Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq); T.C.M. received post-doctoral fellowship from Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ; E-26/202.858/2016); J.P.Q. received post-doctoral fellowship from FAPESP (2018/21380-0); M.C. received post-doctoral fellowships from CNPq (153797/2016-9), Projeto Monitoramento de Praias (PMP/BS UFPR/UNIVALI 46/2016) and CAPES (PDE 88881.170254/2018-01); I.S. received grants from CNPq. We thank J.P. Krajewski, C. Sazima, and L. Almeida for the photographs of reef fish follower-feeding associations, and two anonymous referees for insightful suggestions. J.P.Q. thanks for the contribution of the Research Center for Marine Biodiversity of the University of São Paulo (NPBiomar).

Supplementary material

10641_2019_924_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (29 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 28 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratório de Ecologia Marinha, Departamento de Oceanografia e LimnologiaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do NorteNatalBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de EcologiaUniversidade Federal do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  3. 3.Reef System Ecology and Conservation Lab, Departamento de Biologia MarinhaUniversidade Federal FluminenseNiteróiBrazil
  4. 4.Instituto do MarUniversidade Federal de São PauloSantosBrazil
  5. 5.Centro de Biologia MarinhaUniversidade de São PauloSão SebastiãoBrazil
  6. 6.Departamento de Ecologia e Zoologia, Centro de Ciências BiológicasUniversidade Federal de Santa CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil
  7. 7.Centro de Estudos do MarUniversidade Federal do ParanáPontal do ParanáBrazil
  8. 8.Max Planck Institute of Animal BehaviorRadolfzell am BodenseeGermany
  9. 9.School of Animal, Plant and Environmental SciencesUniversity of the WitswatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa
  10. 10.Museu de ZoologiaUniversidade Estadual de CampinasCampinasBrazil
  11. 11.Grupo de Pesquisa de História Natural de VertebradosUniversidade Estadual de CampinasCampinasBrazil

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