Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Estimates of daily feeding rates were obtained for two groups of herbivorous labroid fishes, one confined to cold water and the other to tropical reef environments. These were the family Odacidae, represented by Odax pullus from New Zealand waters, (Goat Island Bay: Latitude 36° South; on the northeastern coast of New Zealand) and the family Scaridae, represented by Scarus rivulatus, S. schlegeli and S. sordidus from the northern Great Barrier Reef (Lizard Island; a mid-shelf reef at 14° South latitude). Observations on the odacid were made in 1984 and in 1992, and on the scarids in 1984 and 1988. O. pullus displayed a diurnal feeding pattern in which the rates (expressed as bites min-1) are greatest early in the day. The mean combined feeding rate for three size groups (juveniles, subadults and adults) peaked (average of 2.9 bites) from 06.00 to 08.00 hrs and declined fourfold to a combined average of 0.7 bites min-1 by midday. The greatest mean feeding rate recorded was 3.7 bites min-1, with an overall mean of 1.8 bites min-1. For subadults and adults there were consistent trends in feeding, with subadults feeding at a greater rate than adults and both groups displaying a decline in feeding rate during the day. The change in feeding rate with time of day was statistically significant in both groups. The pattern for juvenile O. pullus was different from that in the two larger size groups in that juveniles did not show a uniform decline in feeding with time of day. For scarids, the daily feeding rate varied by site, but the pattern was similar for all species, characterised by initial low rates increasing to higher but variable levels by midday. The influence of both site of feeding and time of day on feeding rate was confirmed by analysis. The overall mean values for each species were 20.1 bites min-1 for S. rivulatus, 19.7 bites min-1 for S. schlegeli and 14.9 bites min-1 for S. sordidus. For scarids, the peak feeding rates varied from 19.3 to 32.8 bites min-1, with overall rates from 14.9 to 21.1 bites min-1. Estimates of activity and movement patterns during feeding were obtained for O. pullus. Distance moved per unit time was highly variable, 0.1 to 47.5 m min-1, with a mean of 8.5 m min-1 (SD=9.9). Trends in movement among sexes and size classes were obscured by the variable movement patterns of individual fishes.
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