Transitional ecological requirements for early juveniles of two sympatric stichaeid fishes, Cebidichthys violaceus and Xiphister mucosus
- Rocky intertidal zone
- Ontogenetic ecology
- Elevational distribution
- Food habits
- Dietary shift
- Substratum preferences
- 1) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 75 Hawthorne Street, 94105, San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.
- 2) Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Research and Development, 3400 Crow Canyon Road, 94583, San Ramon, CA, U.S.A.
Synopsis: The distribution patterns, diets, and substratum (refuge) requirements of early juveniles of two sympatric stichaeid fishesCebidichthys violaceus andXiphister mucosus, were investigated in a rocky intertidal habitat at Diablo Canyon, California. Monthly investigations were conducted at low tide for four consecutive months, to assess ontogenetic differences in distribution, diet, and refuge requirements within and between the two species. Distinct differences in vertical zonation were exhibited by both stichaeids throughout the study. Interspecific zonation patterns were similar to those recorded for adults of both species. Diet analyses showed that early juveniles of both stichaeids were zooplanktivorous, differing markedly from the primarily herbivorous diets of adults. Changes in diet were largely due to the selection of larger prey taxa as both fishes, and their mouth size, grew over the study period. Predation by both fishes on water-column planktors (calanoid copepods, zoea and polychaete larvae) was greatest following initial intertidal settlement and habitat establishment by early juvenile fishes. Greater dependence on substrate-oriented and/or benthic prey (harpacticoid copepods, gammarid amphipods and mysid shrimp) was exhibited by both fishes as they grew in size. Affinities for sand, gravel, and pebbles during monthly field surveys were similar for both species throughout the study. As the fishes grew, their substratum preferences changed in relation to the substrata which provided the best refuge. Results from laboratory experiments indicated that young stichaeids select very specific substrata based on fish age (size) and substratum suitability (i.e. adequate refuge). Similarities in diet and substratum preferences, and changes in those preferences over time, appear to be the result of morphological similarities (body size and shape and mouth gape) for both species at a given age.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Aquatic Science
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics