Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 257–264 | Cite as

A comparative study of territoriality in intertidal and subtidal blennioids (Teleostei, Blennioidei)

  • Emanuel J. Gonçalves
  • Vitor C. Almada


This paper presents a comparative analysis of territoriality in three intertidal (Lipophrys pholis, Coryphoblennius galerita, Salaria pavo) and two subtidal (Tripterygion delaisi, Parablennius pilicornis) blennioid fishes. Focal-animal observations of males guarding eggs showed that: (i) intertidal species had smaller territories that were less frequently patrolled; (ii) in subtidal species feeding was limited to the territory, while in intertidal fishes a substantial proportion of the feeding acts occurred outside the defended area; (iii) intertidal species spent less time out of the nest and showed a lower level of locomotory activity; (iv) subtidal species were subjected to a higher number of territorial intrusions with more species intruding their territory, some of them potential egg predators; (v) subtidal species performed several water column displays that played a significant role in courtship, while in intertidal fishes these displays are almost absent. Signalling without the presence of a female was almost absent in intertidal species. It is argued that intertidal fishes minimize the time spent out of the nest and the loss of contact with the substrate, features that may be of high survival value in conditions of strong turbulence. Although intertidal species have a reduced time available for feeding, this may be compensated by lower levels of locomotory activity, territorial defense and risk of egg predation.

littoral fishes territory structure behaviour turbulence 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emanuel J. Gonçalves
    • 1
  • Vitor C. Almada
    • 1
  1. 1.Unidade de Investigação em Eco-EtologiaInstituto Superior de Psicologia AplicadaLisboaPortugal E-mail

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