Site fidelity and homing in juvenile rabbitfishes (Siganidae)
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The behaviour of juvenile fishes is critical in establishing the link between recruitment and subsequent adult populations. If juvenile fishes move, they can respond to variation in local conditions before adult home ranges are established. Alternatively, if juveniles establish fixed home ranges at settlement, their decisions may determine future population densities at small spatial scales. Field observations and translocations revealed that juvenile rabbitfishes (Siganus corallinus and S. doliatus) have small home ranges and strong homing abilities (covering 6 m in 1 h or 36 m within 24 h). Only four of 22 individuals failed to return; all were transferred up-current, suggesting that olfaction is important in homing. Small home ranges and strong homing tendencies in juvenile herbivores suggest that decisions made by recruits will impact the spatial extent of both adult fishes and the functional roles they play within ecosystems.
KeywordsHome ranges Herbivorous fishes Navigational cues Coral reef resilience
We thank S. Gordon and Lizard Island Research Station staff for field support. The study was funded by the Australian Research Council.
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