Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 97, Issue 12, pp 1353–1365 | Cite as

Feeding behavior and diet of the eight-banded butterflyfish Chaetodon octofasciatus in the Thousand Islands, Indonesia

  • Hawis H. Madduppa
  • Neviaty P. Zamani
  • Beginer Subhan
  • Unggul Aktani
  • Sebastian C. A. Ferse


Marine fishes reach their highest diversity in coral reef ecosystems, which they utilize as territory, place of refuge and reproduction, and source of food. One type of predation among reef fishes is feeding on coral polyps, and a single, easily identifiable family of fishes, Chaetodontidae, contains the majority of obligate corallivore species. Multiple studies have examined the behaviour and ecology of Chaetodontidae and their relationship with the benthic habitat. However, many questions remain about their feeding ecology and food specifity at the species level. The present study is the first attempt to systematically decipher the feeding behavior of the obligate corallivore, Chaetodon octofasciatus. Field data were collected from four sites in the Thousand Islands, Indonesia, during two sampling campaigns in 2006, covering two seasons and two different depths. A high abundance of C. octofasciatus was positively related to hard coral cover. Out of a total of 57 scleractinian coral genera observed during the study period, 24 were utilized by C. octofasciatus. All fish collected during the study (n = 36) had >86 % nematocysts in their guts, supporting their classification as obligate corallivores. Based on the Strauss electivity index, C. octofasciatus displayed a preference for the coral genus Acropora at all depths, while preference for Fungia became more marked at greater depth. Both Acropora and Fungia were observed at high density at all sites, with Acropora density decreasing markedly with depth and Fungia density increasing. Bite rates showed an asymptotic relationship to Acropora density, levelling off between 15 and 20 bites/5 min. The existence of a strong relationship with live coral cover and the preference for specific genera such as Acropora designate C. octofasciatus as a potential bioindicator in the Thousand Islands reefs, while making it particular susceptible to the ongoing degradation of reefs in the region.


Chaetodontid Coral triangle Corallivore Electivity index Fish-habitat association Nematocysts 



The study was supported by a grant of the Indonesian Coral Reefs Foundation (TERANGI) and was conducted with permission of the Taman Nasional Laut Kepulauan Seribu (Thousand Islands Marine National Park) authority. The research methods have been cleared by the animal ethics board of the Bogor Agricultural University, stating that the sampling followed appropriate protocols to minimize stress and avoid cruel treatment of animals. We thank Dr. Sutikno for the fruitful discussion and statistical advices. This study would not have been possible without the kind and valuable assistance of the TERANGI staff in the field, especially Estradivari and M. Syahrir. The authors wish to thank Ibu Murniati Brodjo and Ibu Siti Nursiyamah (Laboratorium Biomikro Departemen MSP) for their help in the laboratory, and Bapak Mae for his help during fish sampling in the Thousand Islands.

Supplementary material

10641_2014_225_MOESM1_ESM.doc (82 kb)
Table S1 (DOC 82 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hawis H. Madduppa
    • 1
  • Neviaty P. Zamani
    • 1
  • Beginer Subhan
    • 1
  • Unggul Aktani
    • 2
  • Sebastian C. A. Ferse
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Marine Science and Technology (ITK), Faculty of Fisheries and Marine ScienceBogor Agricultural University (IPB)BogorIndonesia
  2. 2.Department of Aquatic Living Resources Management (MSP)Bogor Agricultural University (IPB)BogorIndonesia
  3. 3.Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT)BremenGermany

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