Volume 71

Sleeping Sites in Parrotfishes  

Marcos B. Lucena;Thiago C. Mendes;Moysés C. Barbosa;Carlos W. Hackhart;Carlos E. L. Ferreira
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Date: November, 2018

Pages: 179-181

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: San Andres Island

Country: Colombia


Many reef fish species exhibit marked circadian movements, occupying different zones during day and night. Studying how species use the habitats in which they live not only during day, but also at night is important if we want to understand populations structure and dynamics. Parrotfishes are good candidates to tackle these questions as most species can be easily spotted sleeping at night. Parrotfishes are considered to be critical to maintain reef health, but are highly overfished with many of them considered to be endangered. Their sleeping behavior makes them even more vulnerable to fishing. Our objective was to determine parrotfish distribution at night, sleeping fidelity and habitat selectivity in a the Marine Extractive Reserve of Arraial do Cabo, southern Brazil. We performed 126 strip transects (50 x 2 m) in three depths, together with measures of structural complexity. The four most abundant species (n = 192) were actively searched to determine habitat selectivity and the two more abundant tagged (n = 18) for active telemetry. Seven species were detected and depth had a significant influence on species distribution. The most abundant were Sparisoma frondosum, S. axillare, S. tuiupiranga and Scarus zelindae, all of selected sediment and avoided Palythoa caribaeorum as sleeping substrate. Most of the S. zelindae were observed sleeping in places with high structural complexity and intermediate depth, while S. tuiupiranga slept mainly in low complex habitats such as the rocky-sand interface. Fidelity for site was high for 95% of individuals tracked. These results represent the first assessment of parrotfishes distribution and behavior at night and are important to improve local management and conservation of this important group of fish in a scenario where overfishing escalate.

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