Spot-fixed fin digging behavior in foraging of the benthophagous maiden goby, Pterogobius virgo (Perciformes: Gobiidae)
Several patterns of feeding behaviors have been documented in benthophagous fishes. The foraging behavior of the maiden goby, Pterogobius virgo, was studied at Kurahashi Island in the Seto Inland Sea, Japan. Pterogobius virgo foraged mostly on polychaetes by volume from among several available prey items by digging in the sandy bottom. The digging behavior comprised swing of only pectoral fins or of both pectoral fins and body. Pectoral fin swing exposed the cryptic prey within the bottom, and fins and body swing exposed the prey and washed the sediment away. The swings were repeatedly and continuously conducted at a site during the daytime, making a pit several centimeters deep in which the fish was located. After the prey was exposed, the fish immediately and rapidly picked up the prey. Polychaetes were abundant prey in the sediment, occurring in the layer 3–5 cm deep from the bottom surface in the study area. In this goby, spot-fixed fin digging, the first documentation of feeding habits in gobies, may be effective for feeding on the most valuable prey, i.e., polychaetes, which may be otherwise unavailable for this fish.
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