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Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 100, Issue 2, pp 111–120 | Cite as

The ecology of Altrichthys azurelineatus and A. curatus, two damselfishes that lack a pelagic larval phase

  • Giacomo Bernardi
  • Nicole L. Crane
  • Gary C. Longo
  • Angela L. Quiros
Article

Abstract

Out of more than 380 species of damselfish, only three lack a pelagic larval phase, Acanthochromis polyacanthus, that ranges from the Philippines to the Great Barrier Reef, and two species in the genus Altrichthys, A. azurelineatus and A. curatus, that are restricted to the Calamian Archipelago (Palawan province) in the Philippines. Therefore in a very restricted geographic area, northern Palawan, Philippines, all three species co-occur. The goal of this study was to fill a knowledge gap about the ecology of Altrichthys, where very little is currently known. Using census and behavioral approaches at 14 sites on six islands, we were able to identify adult densities, nest densities, nesting habitat preference, and brood behavior and abundance. We found that densities were very high (more than 17 individuals/100 m2 for one species) and A. azurelineatus may be displacing A. curatus at deeper depths where habitat seems of higher quality. Only one out of 14 surveyed sites contained only one species, Altrichthys curatus. Different habitat use and feeding behavior suggest that niche partitioning may play an important role in the life history of these sympatric species.

Keywords

Altrichthys azurelineatus Altrichthys curatus Acanthochromis polyacanthus Apelagic fishes 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Avigdor Abelson and Gustav Paulay for help in coral identification. We would like to thank Amalia Bernardi and Alessio Bernardi for help in the field, and the staff of Dive Link Resort, Uson Island, for logistical support. This study followed Animal Care protocols (UC CARC approval BERNG1601). This work was funded by a National Geographic Grant and a COR grant from UCSC to GB.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of California Santa CruzSanta CruzUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyCabrillo CollegeAptosUSA

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