Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 91, Issue 2, pp 133–144 | Cite as

Habitat use, feeding and territorial behavior of a Brazilian endemic damselfish Stegastes rocasensis (Actinopterygii: Pomacentridae)

  • Allan T. Souza
  • Martina I. Ilarri
  • Ierecê L. Rosa


This paper presents the results of the first field study of the Brazilian endemic damselfish Stegastes rocasensis. Underwater data were collected at the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago (NE Brazil), where four sites were visually assayed for local territorial and feeding behaviors, as well as habitat use. S. rocasensis preferentially fed on turf and macroalgae, and during the afternoon period. Its territory size ranged from 0.26 to 13.86 m2 (1.61 ± 0.23 m2). Our findings suggest that adults preferably inhabit shallow, turf-rich areas, while sub-adults and juveniles occupy deeper areas with higher percent cover of invertebrates and hard corals, respectively. With regards to agonistic behaviors, pursuit of intruders was the most frequent reaction recorded (p < 0.001); the highest level of aggression was elicited by territorial herbivores (p < 0.001). Nevertheless, analysis of attacks elicited by different fish species within S. rocasensis’ territory showed that more attacks were launched on conspecifics than on other fish species.


Agonistic Behavioral ecology Fernando de Noronha Reef fish Southwestern Atlantic 



The authors would like to thank: Humberto Gitirana, Leandro Valentim and Tamara Fogel for their help during field work; Renato Grempel for helping with AUTOCAD software. Special thanks are due to the Águas Claras diving center, for allowing free use of its facilities, and to IBAMA for issuing research permits to the Fernando de Noronha National Marine Park. Financial support was provided by CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico) to the first author, and by the Graduate Program in Biological Sciences (Zoology), Universidade Federal da Paraíba.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allan T. Souza
    • 1
    • 2
  • Martina I. Ilarri
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ierecê L. Rosa
    • 2
  1. 1.CIMAR/CIIMAR Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e AmbientalUniversidade do PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Centro de Ciências Exatas e da NaturezaUniversidade Federal da ParaíbaJoão PessoaBrazil

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