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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 629:149-163 (2019)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13102

Parrotfish functional morphology and bioerosion on SW Atlantic reefs

Nicole Tiburcio Lellys1, Rodrigo Leão de Moura2, Roberta Martini Bonaldo3, Ronaldo Bastos Francini-Filho4, Fernando Zaniolo Gibran5,*

1Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, 45662-900 Ilhéus, Bahia, Brazil
2Instituto de Biologia and SAGE/COPPE, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 21944-970 Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
3Grupo de História Natural de Vertebrados, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, 13083-862 Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
4Centro de Ciências Aplicadas e Educação, Universidade Federal da Paraíba, 58297-000 Rio Tinto, Paraíba, Brazil
5Centro de Ciências Naturais e Humanas, Universidade Federal do ABC, 09606-070 São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo, Brazil
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Parrotfishes (Labridae: Scarini) have jaws formed by teeth fused into a beak-like structure in most species, and are classified into 3 functional groups (browsers, scrapers and excavators) based on jaw morphology, foraging behavior and feeding impact on the benthos. We compared the feeding morphology of 3 parrotfish species in the Abrolhos Bank, SW Atlantic. We also estimated rates of bioerosion caused by the largest and most abundant parrotfish in the region, Scarus trispinosus, and compared them to literature estimates from 12 species. The 3 studied species differed in dentary, suspensorium and mouth/head height. Large (>40 cm) Sc. trispinosus individuals were functionally classified as excavators because of their body size, robust premaxilla and jaws with simple joints, in addition to the large proportion of their bites leaving pronounced marks on the substratum. Large (>40 cm) adult Sparisoma amplum were also classified as excavators because of their mouth/head height, dentary and suspensorium size and robust jaws (dentary) with simple joints. Sc. zelindae had the most mobile jaw among the 3 species and was functionally classified as a scraper, as were juveniles or initial phases of the other 2 species. Body size and feeding rates of Sc. trispinosus were positively correlated with the volume of substratum removed, with large adults removing 207 cm3 d-1 and eroding ~75500 cm3 yr-1. Our results reinforce the importance of studies on jaw morphology and osteology for the assessment of parrotfish feeding modes, and indicate that large adult Sc. trispinosus and Sp. amplum play unique roles as excavating fishes in the Abrolhos Bank.


KEY WORDS: Labridae · Scarini · Herbivory · Osteology · Jaw morphology · Abrolhos Bank


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Cite this article as: Lellys NT, Moura RL, Bonaldo RM, Francini-Filho RB, Gibran FZ (2019) Parrotfish functional morphology and bioerosion on SW Atlantic reefs. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 629:149-163. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13102

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