Tilefishes of the Genus Caulolatilus Construct Burrows in the Sea Floor
Abstract:Observations from submersibles indicate that blueline tilefish (Caulolatilus microps) and possibly blackline tilefish (C. cyanops) construct burrows in the seafloor sediments off Florida and South Carolina. Further in situ and sidescan sonar observations in an area northeast of Cape Canaveral found burrows at water depths between 91–150 m. A typical large burrow (up to 3 × 1.5 m) was elliptical to linear in shape at the sediment surface with a shaft at a slight angle into the substrate. Sonograms showed that average density of larger burrows was 1.5 burrows per 1,000 m2. Small burrows (0.3–0.6 m diameter) were generally circular, and often occurred in clusters that in some locations achieved densities of 0.5–1.0/m2. The burrows were occupied, and apparently constructed, by up to three individual tilefish. These entered the shaft of the burrow head first and exited tail first. Unidentified juvenile fishes, several species of crabs, and conger eels shared burrows with blueline tilefish. On two occasions blueline tilefish were observed in the same burrows as golden tilefish (Lopholalitus chamaeleonticeps).
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 1987
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