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Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences

Short- and long-term movement patterns of six temperate reef fishes (Families Labridae and Monacanthidae)

NS Barrett

Marine and Freshwater Research 46(5) 853 - 860
Published: 1995


Movement patterns were studied on a 1-ha isolated reef surrounding Arch Rock in southern Tasmania. Short-term movements were identified from diver observations, and interpretation of long-term movements involved multiple recaptures of tagged individuals. Visual observations indicated that the sex-changing labrids Notolabrus tetricus, Pictilabrus laticlavius and Pseudolabrus psittaculus were all site-attached, with females having overlapping home ranges and males being territorial. In the non-sex-changing labrid Notolabrus fucicola and in the monacanthids Penicipelta vittiger and Meuschenia australis, there was no evidence of territorial behaviour and 1-h movements were in excess of the scale of the study. The long-term results indicated that all species were permanent reef residents, with most individuals of all species except M. australis always being recaptured within a home range of 100 m × 25 m or less. Only 15% of individuals of M. australis were always recaptured within this range category. The natural habitat boundary of open sand between the Arch Rock reef and adjacent reefs appeared to be an effective deterrent to emigration. The use of natural boundaries should be an important consideration in the design of marine reserves where the aim is to minimize the loss of protected species to adjacent fished areas.

© CSIRO 1995

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