Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 100, Issue 2, pp 187–192

Are nest sites a limiting resource for speleophilic nesting fishes in sand dominated temporarily open/closed estuaries?

  • Ryan J. Wasserman
  • Alan K. Whitfield
  • Rebecca J. Welch
  • Tatenda Dalu

DOI: 10.1007/s10641-016-0570-1

Cite this article as:
Wasserman, R.J., Whitfield, A.K., Welch, R.J. et al. Environ Biol Fish (2017) 100: 187. doi:10.1007/s10641-016-0570-1


Southern African temporarily open/closed estuaries are often characterized by sand dominated mouth regions, a feature in contrast to many permanently open estuaries of the region which regularly have substantial rocky areas. Here we explore how habitat characteristics may reduce nesting opportunities and potentially explain population trends for a common estuarine fish species, the speckled sand goby Psammogobius knysnaensis, in many temporarily open/closed estuaries in South Africa. The present study is the first to document that P. knysnaensis is a speleophilic nester, utilizing the underside of rocks and other hard substrata for egg attachment. Furthermore, our results suggest that ideal nesting habitat for the speckled sand goby is potentially a limiting resource in sand-dominated temporarily open/closed estuaries. We postulate that this is a factor contributing to the relatively low numbers of adult P. knysnaensis found in sandy temporarily open/closed estuaries of the region, although the role of marine connectivity, food availability, predation pressure and other environmental factors in this regard still remain largely unassessed.


Autecology Eggs Gobiidae Psammogobius knysnaensis Reproduction 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
National Research Foundation
  • 88746
Claude Leon Foundation

    Copyright information

    © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

    Authors and Affiliations

    • Ryan J. Wasserman
      • 1
    • Alan K. Whitfield
      • 1
    • Rebecca J. Welch
      • 2
    • Tatenda Dalu
      • 3
    1. 1.South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB)GrahamstownSouth Africa
    2. 2.Zoology and EntomologyUniversity of the Free StatePhuthaditjhabaSouth Africa
    3. 3.Department of Zoology and EntomologyRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa

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