Coral Reefs

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 1151–1155 | Cite as

Site fidelity and homing in juvenile rabbitfishes (Siganidae)

  • David R. BellwoodEmail author
  • Christopher H. R. Goatley
  • Joanna A. Khan
  • Sterling B. Tebbett


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.


Home 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.

Supplementary material

338_2016_1466_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (260 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 260 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • David R. Bellwood
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Christopher H. R. Goatley
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joanna A. Khan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sterling B. Tebbett
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Marine and Environmental ScienceJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  2. 2.ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef StudiesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia

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