Marine Biology

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 121–128 | Cite as

Seasonal variation in territorial response, and other aspects of the ecology of the Australian temperate pomacentrid fish Parma microlepis

  • M. J. Moran
  • P. F. Sale


The Australian temperate pomacentrid fish Parma microlepis Gunther maintains permanent, interspecifically defended territories. Breeding occurs in late spring (October to December), and juveniles after a pre-settling period of 4 to 6 weeks take up territories in the adult habitat. P. microlepis feed in their territories on benthic algae and invertebrates. Density of fish is significantly correlated with the availability of suitable shelter. There is a variation in the territorial response directed at different species, and a significant correlation exists between intensity of response to a species and its similarity to P. microlepis in use of living space. No significant correlation exists between intensity of response and dietary similarity. P. microlepis defends larger areas in the breeding than in the non-breeding season against those species which represent a possible threat to its breeding success. It shows a reduced tendency to attack juvenile conspecifics at the time of year when they would be settling from the plankton. Responses to species not likely to interfere with breeding success do not vary through the year. P. microlepis is thus seen to have complex territorial responses, specific to the species of intruder and time of year. In this it is quite similar to other territorial pomacentrids (chiefly tropical) for which information exists.


Seasonal Variation Defend Late Spring Breeding Success Benthic Alga 
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.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. J. Moran
    • 1
  • P. F. Sale
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesThe University of SydneyAustralia

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