Marine Biology

, Volume 158, Issue 6, pp 1239–1246 | Cite as

Swimming ability and its rapid decrease at settlement in wrasse larvae (Teleostei: Labridae)

  • Jeffrey M. LeisEmail author
  • Amanda C. Hay
  • Michelle R. Gaither
Original Paper


Wrasses are abundant reef fishes and the second most speciose marine fish family, yet little is known of their larval swimming abilities. In August 2010 at Moorea, Society Islands, we measured swimming ability (critical speed, Ucrit) of 80 settlement-stage larvae (11–17 mm) of 5 labrid species (Thalassoma quinquevittatum [n = 67], Novaculichthys taeniourus [n = 6], Coris aygula [n = 5], Halichoeres trimaculatus [n = 1] and H. hortulanus [n = 1]) and 33 new recruits of T. quinquevittatum. Median (mdn) larval Ucrit was 7.6–12.5 cm s−1. In T. quinquevittatum (n = 67), larvae of 12.5–14.5 mm swam faster (mdn 16.9 cm s−1) than smaller or larger larvae (mdn 3.9 and 3.2 cm s−1, respectively). Labrid larvae Ucrit is similar to that of other similar-sized tropical larvae, so labrids and species with comparable settlement sizes should have similar abilities to influence dispersal. Ucrit of T. quinquevittatum recruits decreased to 47–56% of larval Ucrit in 2 days, implying rapid physiological changes at settlement.


Coral Reef Reef Fish Swimming Speed Critical Speed Swimming Ability 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was undertaken while JML was Visiting Professor at Laboratoire Ecosystèmes Aquatiques Tropicaux et Méditerranéens, USR 3278 CNRS-EPHE, Université de Perpignan, and was supported by a grant from the Australian Academy of Science. The research was done under permits issued by le Délégué Régional à la recherche et à la technologie de la Polynesie française. MRG was supported by University of Hawaii Sea Grant under grant No. NA05OAR4171048. Thanks to: René Galzin at EPHE for making it all happen, Yannick Chancerelle and the CRIOBE staff for assistance on Moorea, David Lecchini for the loan of his crest net, Andy Hicks and Suzanne Bullock for assistance in field and lab, Michel Kulbicki for PLD information, Monica Lara for information on Atlantic labrids, and Rob Mason for DNA extraction and identification of the H. hortulanus larva.


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Copyright information

© Her Majesty the Queen in Rights of Australia 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey M. Leis
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Amanda C. Hay
    • 1
  • Michelle R. Gaither
    • 3
  1. 1.IchthyologyAustralian MuseumSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.USR 3278 CNRS-EPHE, CRIOBE et CBETMUniversité de PerpignanPerpignan CedexFrance
  3. 3.Hawaii Institute of Marine BiologyKane’oheUSA

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