Investigator Group Expedition 2006: Habitat-dependent Foraging Behaviour and Diet of the Scalyfin, Parma Victoriae, in South Australia
Abstract:The foraging behaviour, territory size and diet of the scalyfin, Parma victoriae, were studied at three sites in South Australia. Two sites were in Ecklonia habitat on an exposed coast, one of them, Site 1, in a marine reserve at West I., and the other, Site 2, in an intensely fished area at The Bluff, Victor Harbor. The third, Site 3, was sheltered, in a fucoid community in Groper Bay, Flinders I., in the eastern Great Australian Bight. The algal food supply was highest at the reserve site (1), and lowest at the sheltered site (3). The scalyfin spent a greater proportion of time foraging, and a lower proportion of time sheltering, at the reserve site (1), than at the Bluff site (2). At Site 3, territories were about seven times larger than at the other two sites, and fish spent a higher proportion of time in defence and aggressive interactions than at the other sites. The diet at all sites was predominantly browsed rhodophytes, but at Site 3 the rhodophytes eaten were almost entirely epiphytic on fucoid algae and in low abundance. At the exposed sites (1, 2), where food algae were patchy, scalyfin removed Ecklonia sporophytes experimentally placed in their territories, but not at Site 3, dominated by fucoids. At the exposed sites they employed a saltatory foraging mode, whereas at Site 3 they adopted a cruise search foraging behaviour over their larger territories. Both modes seem optimal in their respective habitats.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 2008
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