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Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 101, Issue 7, pp 1195–1204 | Cite as

Cleaning interactions at the southern limit of tropical reef fishes in the Western Atlantic

  • J. P. Quimbayo
  • O. R. C. Schlickmann
  • S. R. Floeter
  • I. Sazima
Article

Abstract

Cleaning associations are one of the most dynamic and complex mutualistic interactions of reef environments and are often influenced by local conditions. In the Western Atlantic (WE) most studies concentrate in tropical areas, with little attention to subtropical areas. We examined an assemblage of cleaner fish and their clients on the rocky reefs of the coast of Santa Catarina state, South Brazil, the southern limit of tropical reef fishes in the WE. We recorded 150 cleaning interactions, in which four fish species and one shrimp species acted as facultative cleaners. The grunt Anisotremus virginicus and the angelfish Pomacanthus paru serviced most clients. Fifteen fish species acted as clients, among which the most frequent was the planktivorous grunt Haemulon aurolineatum (31%). Cleaning interactions occurred mostly (87%) with non-carnivorous clients and the number of interactions was not related to the abundance of the species involved. The absence of dedicated cleaner fishes at the study sites and the replacement of their roles by facultative cleaners may be related to local conditions, including cold currents and reduction of rock cover. Under these circumstances, clients take advantage of the services offered by facultative cleaners, a characteristic of temperate areas.

Keywords

Mutualism Cleaning behavior Facultative cleaners South Atlantic Brazil 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was carried out under “Projeto Ilhas do Sul” (PI: Sergio R. Floeter, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico 475367/2006-8), “Projeto MAArE – Monitoramento Ambiental do Arvoredo e Entorno” (PI: Barbara Segal, a condition set by the ICMBio in the context of IBAMA’s environmental licensing process), “Projeto Biodiversidade Marinha do Estado de Santa Catarina” (PI: Alberto Lindner, FAPESC 4302/2010-8), and SISBIOTA-Mar (PI: Sergio R. Floeter, CNPq 563276/2010-0; Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Santa Catarina 6308/2011-8). We also acknowledge LBMM staff for field assistance and comments during the development of this study. R.A. Morais., L.T. Nunes, and J.P. Krajewski for pictures used in Fig. 3. JPQ and ORCS thanks Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico for financial support. IS thanks Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico and Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo for previous financial support to study cleaning symbiosis in the southwestern Atlantic.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratório de Biogeografia e Macroecologia Marinha, Departamento de Ecologia e Zoologia, Centro de Ciências BiológicasUniversidade Federal de Santa CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil
  2. 2.Grupo de Investigación en Ecología de Arrecifes CoralinosUniversidade del ValleCaliColombia
  3. 3.Museu de ZoologiaUniversidade Estadual de CampinasCampinasBrazil

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