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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 49(1)

Patterns of pisciviory by resident predatory reef fish at One Tree Reef, Great Barrier Reef

S. D. Connell

Marine and Freshwater Research 49(1) 25 - 30
Published: 1998


Patterns of piscivory were investigated among five abundant species of predatory fish at One Tree Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. The guts of two lutjanids Lutjanus carponotatus and Lutjanus fulviflamma, two labrids Cheilinus diagrammus and Thalassoma lunare, and a serranid Epinephelus quoyanus were examined for type, length, number and volume of prey at two times of the day: sunrise and sunset. Each of these species consumed fish, but only T. lunare and the two lutjanids consumed recruit-sized fish. This information is important because there is often scepticism as to whether large predators (>200 mm TL) such as lutjanids consume new recruits. Only in the lutjanids were there differences in the number and volume of prey present in the gut at sunrise and at sunset; at sunset, few lutjanid specimens contained prey, whereas at sunrise 98% of specimens contained prey. This result, in conjunction with studies of nocturnal activity, suggest that patterns of predation pressure inferred from daylight observations of predator abundance may have little relevance to actual patterns of predation at local scales.

Keywords: coral-reef fish, gut contents, predation, prey

Full text doi:10.1071/MF97034

© CSIRO 1998

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