Marine Biology

, Volume 144, Issue 6, pp 1057–1064 | Cite as

Effects of diet, ultraviolet exposure, and gender on the ultraviolet absorbance of fish mucus and ocular structures

  • J. P. ZamzowEmail author
Research Article


Ultraviolet (UV) radiation can be damaging to fish skin and ocular components. Coral reef fishes are regularly exposed to potentially harmful radiation. It was recently discovered that tropical marine fishes possess UV-absorbing compounds in their mucus. This experiment demonstrates significant effects of both diet and ultraviolet exposure on the UV-absorbing compounds in the mucus of a tropical wrasse, Thalassoma duperrey. Fish that are exposed to UV radiation increase the UV absorbance of their mucus only if UV-absorbing compounds are provided in their diet. Fish that are protected from UV radiation decrease the UV absorbance of their mucus regardless of diet. Mucus from female T. duperrey absorbed less UV and females had higher rates of skin damage than males. Females sequester UV-absorbing compounds in their pelagic eggs as well as their epithelial mucus, whereas males do not sequester these compounds in the testes. Spectral transmission through the whole eye was not affected by diet or UV manipulations, but corneal tissue transmission decreased significantly in the UV-exposed individuals. These results demonstrate that coral reef fish can adapt to UV exposure, so long as UV-absorbing compounds are available in the diet.


High Performance Liquid Chromatography Fish Length Damage Score Mucus Sample Epithelial Mucus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



G. Losey, A. Taylor, T. Tricas, P. Nachtigall, D. Jameson, P. Nelson, and D. Copson provided valuable discussions and helpful comments that greatly improved the final manuscript. K. Del Carmen, S. Shimoda, E.G. Grau, E. Conklin, and M. Okihiro are appreciated for their help with the experimental diet formulation. P. Jokiel graciously allowed the use of his tanks. A. May, S. Christensen, and R. Bidigare facilitated the HPLC analyses. This work was funded by NSF-OCE9810387 and is contribution 1171 of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. These experiments were conducted under IACUC Protocol # 95-012 and comply with the current laws of the United States.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zoology Department and Hawaii Institute of Marine BiologyUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaKaneoheUSA

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