Spatial and temporal variation in predation on reef fishes by coral trout ( Plectropomus leopardus , Serranidae)
The diet of coral trout Plectropomus leopardus (Serranidae) was studied over a two year period at One Tree Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Rapid visual counts demonstrated that P. leopardus were most abundant on the reef slope habitat and inner edge of the enclosed lagoon. Few P. leopardus were found at sites from “inner” lagoon. It was hypothesized that diet would vary among habitats, times and size classes of coral trout. Ninety-two percent of P. leopardus that contained prey had consumed fish and 87% had only eaten fish. Many types of reef fish were taken by P. leopardus (e.g. Pomacentridae, Scaridae, Blenniidae and Labridae). Most pelagic prey (Clupeidae and Engraulididae) were taken on the reef slope, while some prey were solely or pimarily taken in the lagoon (e.g. Blenniidae and crustaceans). Most pelagic prey were taken on the reef slope in summer by P. leopardus>250 mm (SL). Plectropomus leopardus (<200 mm) from the lagoon had a higher proportion of invertebrates in the diet than fish from the reef slope. Plectropomus leopardus of all sizes ate small fish, while largest fish generally consumed largest prey (especially adult scarids and labrids). I argue that interactions among multiple species of prey and predators need more attention, because piscivores may respond to prey in different ways according to habitat type as well as the number and type of other prey types present. Furthermore, different sizes of fish (e.g. coral trout) may impact assemblages of prey in different ways.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
- 4 - invertebres