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Free Content Predatory behaviors of Caranx melampygus (Carangidae) feeding on spawning reef fishes: a novel ambushing strategy

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Carangid fishes, commonly known as jacks, are important predators of reef fishes in tropical and sub-tropical oceans. The behavioral strategies used by Caranx melampygus while preying on spawning aggregations of coral reef fishes were studied for 2 yrs at Johnston Atoll (Central Pacific). Visual observation of 173 attack events revealed two different hunting behaviors. A "midwater" hunting behavior typical of large transient predators consisted of midwater high speed attacks on spawning fishes, and yielded a capture success rate of 2%. An "ambush" hunting behavior consisted of attacks on spawning fishes from hiding locations in the substrate and yielded a higher capture success rate of 17%. During ambush hunting, C. melampygus adopted a dark coloration and displayed aggressive behaviors toward other intruding conspecifics while defending a specific section of the reef. This previously undescribed, specialized ambushing behavior is atypical of fast swimming carangids and illustrates the behavioral flexibility of this important reef predator.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2000

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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