Site fidelity and activity patterns of a humphead wrasse, Cheilinus undulatus (Labridae), as determined by acoustic telemetry
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This study examines the short-term site fidelity, the home range size and the activity patterns of one specimen of the emblematic and threatened humphead wrasse, Chelinus undulatus. Four omnidirectional hydrophones were deployed for 7 months in the mooring area of Larégnère marine reserve (New Caledonia). The hydrophone network covered 50 ha. The monitored fish was caught in the study site and surgically implanted with an ultrasonic transmitter. The fish displayed a regular diurnal rhythm during 25 days before leaving the area. Different patterns of spatial use were identified. The temporal succession of these patterns indicates that the minimum distance covered by the fish every day ranged between 20 and 200 m. Its home range was at least 5 ha. A decrease of the detection was observed before the departure of the fish. This decrease coincided with the beginning of the reproduction period in New Caledonia and supports the hypothesis of a fish departure for the reproductive event. Despite the survey of only one specimen, the home range and movement calculated using acoustic telemetry are different in scale than the reported scuba-based visual estimations. Such information is essential for the development of management policies and conservation measures of large reef fish species highly vulnerable to disturbance and fishing pressure.
KeywordsAcoustic tracking Behaviour Emblematic species Home range New Caledonia
Financial support for this study was provided by the ZoNéCo program. Authors would like to thank M. Soria (IRD—Reunion Island) for the acoustic equipment lending. We thank C. Chauvet (LERVEM director) for providing observations about the frequentation of Dumbea passage by C. undulatus during the study. O. Chateau would like to express a very special thank to B. Ma-Kim, A. Gerbault, P. Blazer, P. Chavance, X. Neyrat, G. Pottin and P. Pagand for their help during the study set up.
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