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Multivariate characterisation of the habitats of seven species of Malayan mudskippers (Gobiidae: Oxudercinae)

Abstract

Mudskippers (Gobiidae: Oxudercinae) are amphibious gobies. The occurrence and habitats of seven sympatric species of Malayan mudskippers were recorded: Boleophthalmus boddarti, Boleophthalmus pectinirostris, Periophthalmodon schlosseri, Periophthalmus chrysospilos, Periophthalmus gracilis, Periophthalmus variabilis and Scartelaos histophorus. A total of 14 surveys were made at six localities along 120 km of the west coast of the Malay Peninsula in August 1996 and September 2006. A multivariate set of ordinal parameters were used to measure the quantity of environmental water in mudskippers’ habitats, and three guilds of species were discriminated. The resulting pattern mirrored the adaptive scenario depicted by physiological and anatomical studies of mudskippers’ terrestriality, although in one case a terminal taxon was less terrestrial than other more basal ones. Differentiation of trophic niches may also play a role in habitat selection by the herbivorous Boleophthalmus spp., which were only found in unvegetated, illuminated areas and on wet mud at low tide. With the more terrestrial guild, a significant negative co-occurrence suggested direct interspecific competition.

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Acknowledgments

Thanks to Dr. A. Sasekumar (University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur), who greatly helped with the field collection and granted access to the zoological collection of the museum of the University of Malaya. Thanks also to Mr. M. Rasainthiran (Park Manager of the Kuala Selangor Marine Nature Park in 1996), Dr. H. K. Larson (Museum and Art Gallery, Darwin, Australia) and Dr. T. Takita (University of Nagasaki, Japan) for their help and support. Many thanks also to the staff of all the museums and institutions that loaned fish specimens or sent photos. The survey made in 2006 was the result of a scientific collaboration between GP and Prof. J. Pignatti (University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Italy), Dr. A. Sasekumar and Prof. V. C. Chong (University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur), Mr. H. Singh and Mrs. L. Tokiman (Kukup and Tanjung Piai Taman Negara, Johor National Parks Corporation). Part of this survey was funded by a doctoral grant by the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. Thanks to Prof. M. Rosenzweig (University of Arizona, USA); Prof. J. Clack (University of Cambridge, UK); Prof. S. Milli and Dr. F. Colloca (University of Rome “La Sapienza”), and to the three anonymous reviewers for a revision of the manuscript. GP also wishes to thank the Yoon family in Petaling Jaya for facilities during the stay in 1996.

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Communicated by J. P. Grassle.

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Polgar, G., Crosa, G. Multivariate characterisation of the habitats of seven species of Malayan mudskippers (Gobiidae: Oxudercinae). Mar Biol 156, 1475–1486 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-009-1187-0

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Keywords

  • High Tide
  • Intertidal Zone
  • Mangrove Forest
  • Flood Tide
  • Malay Peninsula