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Territoriality of the omnivorous butterflyfish, Chaetodon auriga (Chaetodontidae)

Posted on 13 March 2013

TitleTerritoriality of the omnivorous butterflyfish, Chaetodon auriga (Chaetodontidae)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsRendall, KL
JournalEnvironmental Biology of Fishes
Date Published12/2012
KeywordsButterflyfish, Chaetodon auriga, Fish density, habitat, Territoriality
AbstractButterflyfish research has focused on corallivorous species, with little attention paid to the other, equally abundant, omnivorous and planktivorous species. This study sought to explore the nature of ranging behaviour of the omnivorous butterflyfish, Chaetodon auriga, across two geographic regions. Pairs of C. auriga defended non-overlapping territories, ranging in area from 97.44 m2 to 2281.64 m2. Mean territory area varied among study sites while remaining consistent between geographic regions. Most of the variation in territory area was explained by variation in butterflyfish density, while damselfish density, total fish density, and percent sand cover inside territories were also correlated with territory area. Benthic assemblages of territories did not mirror study sites, suggesting that territory establishment is non-random. At all study sites, Chaetodon auriga exhibited significant selection in its patterns of habitat resource use. These results highlight the importance of research on generalist butterflyfishes as damage to coral reef ecosystems continues to threaten their specialist counterparts.
Short TitleEnviron Biol Fish