Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 243–246 | Cite as

Herbivorous fishes Siganus rivulatus (Siganidae) and Zebrasoma desjardinii (Acanthuridae) feed on Ctenophora and Scyphozoa in the Red Sea

  • Arthur R. Bos
  • Edwin Cruz-Rivera
  • Ashraf M. Sanad
Short Communication


Individuals of the rabbitfish Siganus rivulatus (Siganidae) and surgeonfish Zebrasoma desjardinii (Acanthuridae) were observed feeding on ctenophores and scyphozoans in the northern Red Sea during late spring and early summer seasons between 2010 and 2015. Siganus rivulatus and Z. desjardinii, considered nominally herbivorous, preyed on relatively large ctenophores until disintegration, and on the moon jellyfish Aurelia aurita (Scyphozoa) until they sank to the bottom. Siganus rivulatus was the most dominant predatory fish feeding on gelatinous zooplankton (37 % of attacks on ctenophores and 51 % of attacks on A. aurita). Furthermore, prey individuals were usually approached by two or more fish simultaneously. Eleven additional fish species fed on gelatinous zooplankton, with Chaetodon fasciatus (Chaetodontidae) accounting for 27 and 12 % of the attacks on ctenophores and A. aurita, respectively, and Z. desjardinii for 17 and 24 % of the attacks. Other fishes attacked gelatinous zooplankton in ≤6 % of the observations. This study constitutes the first record of S. rivulatus and Z. desjardinii preying on ctenophores and also confirms preliminary observations of S. rivulatus feeding on scyphozoans. Although herbivorous fishes may accidentally ingest small invertebrates while feeding on algae, the deliberate feeding on gelatinous zooplankton observed for S. rivulatus and Z. desjardinii suggests that their trophic role should be reevaluated.


Aurelia aurita Chaetodontidae Cnidaria Gelatinous zooplankton Herbivory 



We greatly acknowledge the support of Khamis Elsayed (Dive Pro Academy) for providing an excellent diving infrastructure.

Supplementary material

12526_2016_454_MOESM1_ESM.mp4 (11.7 mb)
ESM 1 (MP4 11972 kb)


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur R. Bos
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Edwin Cruz-Rivera
    • 4
  • Ashraf M. Sanad
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of BiologyAmerican University in CairoNew CairoEgypt
  2. 2.John D. Gerhart Field StationAmerican University in CairoEl-GounaEgypt
  3. 3.Naturalis Biodiversity CenterLeidenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of the Virgin IslandsSt. ThomasUSA
  5. 5.Dive Pro AcademyHurghadaEgypt

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