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Sound production in four damselfish (Dascyllus) species: phyletic relationships?

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Most studies of fish sounds show that the sounds are species-specific, with unique spectral and timing characteristics. This raises the question as to whether these sounds can be used to understand phyletic relationships between species and which acoustic parameters are subject to variation between species. In the present study, 597 sounds (and 2540 pulses) related to signal jumps of four Dascyllus species (Dascyllus aruanus, Dascyllus trimaculatus, Dascyllus albisella, and Dascyllus flavicaudus) from different geographic regions (Madagascar, Moorea, Rangiroa, and Hawaii) were analysed. It was possible to discern species-specific sounds, but also variation in sounds between populations. Large variations in sound length were found between Dascyllus species, whereas differences in interpulse duration were found to be variable between populations. In the regions where species live in sympatry, it appears that they restrict the variability in their sounds. This could comprise evidence of adaptation with character displacement of sonic characteristics where different species co-occur. However, sonic characteristics still overlapped substantially between species, suggesting that females would need to sample more than one sound and potentially use other cues to discriminate between species. © 2009 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2009, 97, 928–940.

Keywords: Pomacentridae; acoustic communication; damselfish; sonic

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) – UR 128 (CoRéUs) – 101 Promenade Roger Laroque, BP A5 – 98848 Noumea, New Caledonia 2: Laboratoire de Morphologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, Institut de Chimie, Bât. B6C, Université de Liège, B-4000 Liège, Belgium 3: Tropical Fish Tahiti, BP 76, Avatoru 98775, Rangiroa 4: University of South Florida, College of Marine Science, 140 Seventh Avenue South, St Petersburg, FL 33701, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2009


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