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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 460:207-220 (2012)  -  DOI:

Diel behaviour and habitat utilisation by the pearly razorfish during the spawning season

J. Alós1,*, M. Cabanellas-Reboredo1, S. Lowerre-Barbieri2

1Instituto Mediterráneo de Estudios Avanzados (IMEDEA; CSIC-UIB), Miquel Marqués, 21, Esporles, Illes Balears 07008, Spain
2Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701, USA

ABSTRACT: Despite its small size, the pearly razorfish Xyrichtys novacula (Linnaeus, 1758) supports important targeted recreational and commercial fisheries. Here, we present the first data on the movements of this species obtained using acoustic telemetry in a temperate marine protected area (MPA). The results demonstrate that acoustic telemetry is well suited for behavioural studies, even in species of small size. The results confirmed previous speculations regarding the behaviour of this species, demonstrating a clear diel pattern with maximum rates of activity during the day and fewer detections at night, when the fish bury themselves in the soft bottom. X. novacula exhibited a sedentary lifestyle with limited movement. The fish occurred in an accumulated averaged area of 0.32 ± 0.13 km2 95% of the time (95% kernel utilisation distribution [KUD]) and in a core area (50% KUD) of 0.07 ± 0.02 km2. These small areas of habitat utilisation existed independent of sex and diel behaviour. No daily migration pattern or specific resting locations were detected. The linearity index (as a proxy of site fidelity) demonstrated that the movement of X. novacula was random within a specific home range area (sedentary behaviour) rather than directional (nomadic behaviour). The observed diel pattern of behaviour confirms that this species is not vulnerable to nighttime fishing, and the small spatial scale of habitat utilisation suggests that small MPAs can be an effective management tool.

KEY WORDS: Acoustic telemetry · Continuous wavelet transform · Control tag · Home range · MPA · Protogynous hermaphrodite · Xyrichtys novacula

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Cite this article as: Alós J, Cabanellas-Reboredo M, Lowerre-Barbieri S (2012) Diel behaviour and habitat utilisation by the pearly razorfish during the spawning season. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 460:207-220.

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