Habitat Selectivity and Reliance on Live Corals for Indo-Pacific Hawkfishes (Family: Cirrhitidae)
MetadataShow full item record
This open access article is distributed under the Creative Commons license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Hawkfishes (family: Cirrhitidae) are small conspicuous reef predators that commonly perch on, or shelter within, the branches of coral colonies. This study examined habitat associations of hawkfishes, and explicitly tested whether hawkfishes associate with specific types of live coral. Live coral use and habitat selectivity of hawkfishes was explored at six locations from Chagos in the central Indian Ocean extending east to Fiji in the Pacific Ocean. A total of 529 hawkfishes from seven species were recorded across all locations with 63% of individuals observed perching on, or sheltering within, live coral colonies. Five species (all except Cirrhitus pinnulatus and Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus) associated with live coral habitats. Cirrhitichthys falco selected for species of Pocillopora while Paracirrhites arcatus and P. forsteri selected for both Pocillopora and Acropora, revealing that these habitats are used disproportionately more than expected based on the local cover of these coral genera. Habitat selection was consistent across geographic locations, and species of Pocillopora were the most frequently used and most consistently selected even though this coral genus never comprised more than 6% of the total coral cover at any of the locations. Across locations, Paracirrhites arcatus and P. forsteri were the most abundant species and variation in their abundance corresponded with local patterns of live coral cover and abundance of Pocilloporid corals, respectively. These findings demonstrate the link between small predatory fishes and live coral habitats adding to the growing body of literature highlighting that live corals (especially erect branching corals) are critically important for sustaining high abundance and diversity of fishes on coral reefs.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Diversity on the edge: non-linear patterns of coral community structure at an isolated oceanic islandRichards, Zoe; Ryan, N.; Harvey, Euan; Garcia, R.; Hobbs, Jean-Paul (2016)Coral communities are expected to display predictable patterns of diversity and structure across depth and exposure gradients, yet these predictions have rarely been tested at oceanic locations. Here we tested 5 common ...
Lindfield, S.; Harvey, Euan; Halford, A.; McIlwain, Jennifer (2016)Coral reefs are subjected to unprecedented levels of disturbance with population growth and climate change combining to reduce standing coral cover and stocks of reef fishes. Most of the damage is concentrated in shallow ...
Moore, Cordelia; Cappo, M.; Radford, B.; Heyward, A. (2017)This paper provides a first assessment of fish communities associated with the submerged oceanic banks and shoals in north-west Australia. Until recently, little was known about these deeper and more inaccessible reefs. ...