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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 409:199-212 (2010)  -  DOI:

Size variation of six species of oxudercine gobies along the intertidal zone in a Malayan coastal swamp

G. Polgar1,*, V. Bartolino2

1Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2Institute of Marine Research, Swedish Board of Fisheries, Lysekil, Sweden

ABSTRACT: Reduction in size from sea to land is a common trend of many fish species and communities, at both the intraspecific and interspecific level. Within the intertidal zone, similar trends have been described at the intraspecific level in several transient and resident fish species. Oxudercines are a group of intertidal gobies (Gobiidae: Oxudercinae) including several species, which exhibit extreme adaptations to an amphibious lifestyle. Ecomorphological and ecophysiological considerations suggest that size reduction in this group may have facilitated the adaptation to semi-terrestrial conditions. To test this hypothesis, the spatial ecology and the presence of an intra- and interspecific size gradient was investigated in an oxudercine community of a Malayan intertidal ecosystem (6 species included in 3 genera). A random stratified sampling design was adopted, and ANOVA and cluster analysis performed to describe this variation. Multivariate analyses of the quantity of environmental water were also conducted to investigate the correspondence between size and habitat terrestriality. Larger species were found in more aquatic conditions at lower topographical levels along the vertical intertidal gradient, supporting the hypothesis of an adaptive value of smaller size in more terrestrial habitats. Intraspecific variation showed more complex patterns, even if in several species smaller individuals were found in more terrestrial conditions.

KEY WORDS: Intertidal fishes · Size distribution · Habitat partitioning · Spatial ecology · Tropical · Mudskippers · Amphibious fishes · Water to land eco-evolutionary transition

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Cite this article as: Polgar G, Bartolino V (2010) Size variation of six species of oxudercine gobies along the intertidal zone in a Malayan coastal swamp. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 409:199-212.

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