Diets and metabolic rates of four Caribbean tube blennies, genus Acanthemblemaria (Teleostei: Chaenopsidae)
Abstract:In order to determine the extent to which tube blennies depend on food derived from within or outside of the reef system, the diets of Acanthemblemaria spinosa, A. aspera, A. greenfieldi and A. paula were compared with food availability using plankton, benthic and gut sampling. All species fed primarily on copepods, but A. spinosa consumed calanoids and cyclopoids of planktonic origin whereas the other species consumed harpacticoids of benthic origin. This pattern correlates with the occurrence of A. spinosa in tall corals whereas the other species are found in corals close to the reef surface. Calanoids were more abundant 1 m above the reef surface than <0.5 m above the reef surface. Oxygen consumption rates were determined for the above species and Emblemariopsis pricei and E. ruetzleri. On the oxygen consumption versus body weight graph, A. spinosa shares a high slope with the Emblemariopsis species, which was three times greater than the slopes of other species of Acanthemblemaria. It is not known if the high metabolic rate of A. spinosa is a consequence of the greater food availability in its microhabitat, an adaptation for acquiring the higher quality microhabitat, or both. In any case, A. spinosa is the only Acanthemblemaria species in this study that imports nutrients to the reef by consuming plankton.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1999-07-01
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