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Aquatic Biology

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AB 19:231-238 (2013)  -  DOI:

Use of chemical cues by coral reef animal larvae for habitat selection

David Lecchini1,2,*, Yohei Nakamura3

1USR 3278 CNRS-EPHE, CRIOBE, 98729 Moorea, French Polynesia
2Laboratoire d’Excellence ‘CORAIL’, 98729 Moorea, French Polynesia
3Graduate School of Kuroshio Science, Kochi University, 783 8502 Kochi, Japan

ABSTRACT: The present study explored the importance of chemical cues for habitat selection by fish (6 species), crustacean (1 species), and cephalopod (1 species) larvae in a 4-channel choice flume at Ishigaki Island, Japan. The larval attraction toward chemical cues from reef patches (seagrass bed patch, live coral patch, dead coral patch, and control water; Expt 1) and microhabitats within a given reef patch (live coral colonies, dead coral colonies, seagrass, and conspecifics; Expt 2) was tested in a 4-channel choice flume. The results in Expt 1 showed that 3 fish species used chemical cues to move significantly towards reef patches: Chromis viridis toward live coral patch water and Lutjanus fulviflamma and L. gibbus toward seagrass bed patch water. In Expt 2, 6 of 8 species (4 fishes, 1 cephalopod, and 1 crustacean) used chemical cues to move significantly toward conspecific water (Apogon properuptus, C. viridis, Dascyllus reticulatus, L. fulviflamma, Octopus cyanea, and Palaemonidae sp.). Overall, these results suggest that marine species can actively select settlement habitats according to olfactory cues (more specially, cues from conspecifics). Moreover, these results highlight the importance of conspecific cues over other types of information (reef patch and microhabitat) for habitat selection. Social aggregation of fish, crustacean, and cephalopod larvae with older conspecifics may be the result of individuals using conspecific ‘guides’ to potentially find beneficial resources (availability of resources and low mortality).

KEY WORDS: Sensory mechanisms · Settlement cues · Fish · Crustacean · Cephalopod

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Cite this article as: Lecchini D, Nakamura Y (2013) Use of chemical cues by coral reef animal larvae for habitat selection. Aquat Biol 19:231-238.

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