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Microhabitat selection in the early juvenile mudskipper Boleophthalmus pectinirostris (L.)

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Using laboratory choice experiments, behavioural preferences of the early juvenile mudskipper Boleophthalmus pectinirostris for temperature, salinity and sediment were observed. The temperature preference experiments were conducted in an annular chamber with a thermal gradient of 27 to 34° C, and the fish selected a mean ±s.d. temperature of 31·2 ± 0·5° C. The salinity preference experiments were conducted in an aquarium with decreasing salinity from 20 to 15, 10, 5 and 0·5, and significantly more (P < 0·05) fish were found in water with a salinity of 5. The sediment preference experiments were tested in circular tanks which contained four types of sediment (medium sand, fine sand, muddy sand and sandy mud), and the fish showed a clear preference for sandy mud. These results indicated that early juvenile B. pectinirostris showed behavioural preference for microhabitats. Temperature and salinity probably set large-scale boundaries on distribution, but sediment should be a critical factor for determining the distribution of the mudskipper.

Keywords: mudskipper; salinity preference; sediment preference; temperature preference

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2007.01723.x

Affiliations: Department of Oceanography, Xiamen University, 361005 Xiamen, China

Publication date: February 1, 2008

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