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The goatfish Pseudupeneus maculatus and its follower fishes at an oceanic island in the tropical west Atlantic

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The influence of a substratum-disturbing forager, the spotted goatfish Pseudupeneus maculatus on the assemblage of its escorting, opportunistic-feeding fishes was examined at Fernando de Noronha Archipelago (tropical west Atlantic). Followers attracted to spotted goatfish foraging singly differed from followers of spotted goatfish foraging in groups in several characteristics. The larger the nuclear fish group, the greater the species richness and number of individuals of followers. Moreover, groups of foraging spotted goatfish attracted herbivores, not recorded for spotted goatfish foraging singly. The size of follower individuals increased with the size and the number of foraging spotted goatfish. The zoobenthivorous habits of the spotted goatfish and its ability to disturb a variety of soft substrata render it an important nuclear fish for several follower species of the reef fish assemblage at Fernando de Noronha.

Keywords: Mullidae; Pseudupeneus maculatus; equatorial west Atlantic; foraging associations; nuclear and follower fishes; reef fishes

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Museu de História Natural, Caixa Postal 6109, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, 13083-970 Campinas, São Paulo, Brasil 2: Integrative Ecology Group, Estación Biológica de Doñana, CSIC, Apdo. 1056, E-41080 Sevilla, Spain

Publication date: September 1, 2006


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