Observations on Agonistic Behavior between Members of Juvenile French and White Grunts—Family Haemulidae
Abstract:Resting and protective daytime schooling aggregations of juvenile French and white grunts (Haemulon flavolineatum and H. plumieri) are shown to have a distinct internal social organization. In general, the juvenile grunts that occupied specific schooling sites on shallow reefs were organized into schooling units according to size. In addition to these social units, within a schooling site there were several medium to large juveniles strongly defending territories. Agonistic behavior, which increases with size and was evident in the territorial juveniles, was also observed within all organizational levels of the “school,” and tended to intensify during the early morning and again during the afternoon. At night juvenile French grunts maintained a solitary distribution over sand beds. Conflict was intense when these solitary juveniles first reaggregated each morning just prior to their return migration to the daytime schooling sites. Homing to a particular schooling site, as determined from marking and release experiments, was high, as was the fidelity of individual fish to specific localities within a schooling site. Three potentially interacting hypotheses are considered to assess the role(s) of agonistic behavior in juvenile grunts: (1) anti-predation, (2) energy conservation, and (3) competition for food resources.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 1982
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