Sheltering and Foraging Substrate uses of the Arc-Eye Hawkfish Paracirrhites Arcatus (Pisces: Cirrhitidae)
A combination of free-ranging snorkel surveys and focal-animal observations was used to evaluate substrate use by the arc-eye hawkfish Paracirrhites arcatus, a typical cirrhitid recognized for its conspicuous "perching" and ambushing behavior, The arc-eye hawkfish used different substrates for sheltering and for foraging. Pocillopora meandrina, the only common species of closely branched coral in the main Hawaiian Islands, was the perch most frequently encountered (>96% of all cases) on snorkel surveys at seven sites on the leeward side of the Island of Hawaii. P. arcatus refuged within Poc. meandrina whenever predators approached closely, but darted out from coral heads to feed. Foraging strikes were directed mainly at targets on benthic substrates surrounding Poc. meandrina refuges; strikes were primarily directed (81–96% of all strikes) at prey on rock/dead coral substrate that dominated cover (43–90%) at the study sites. P. arcatus also fed to a major extent within the near-bottom water column. The dichotomy between preferred foraging and sheltering substrates is discussed relative to the trade-off between foraging benefit and risk of predation hazard when the two substrates differ.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: May 1, 1996
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