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General Ecology of Six Species of Hawaiian Cardinalfishes

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Title:General Ecology of Six Species of Hawaiian Cardinalfishes
Authors:Chave, E.H.
Date Issued:Jul 1978
Publisher:University of Hawaii Press
Citation:Chave EH. 1978. General ecology of six species of Hawaiian cardinalfishes. Pac Sci 32(3): 245-270.
Abstract:Six species of cardinalfishes (Pisces: Apogonidae) are found
together in shallow marine waters of Hawaii day and night. All six species
remain in holes and caves during the day and emerge at night when they feed.
The centers of abundance, ecological ranges, and other requirements of the
six species differ during their life histories. During the day, Foa brachygramma
is found in crevices or rubble on shallow, calm reef flats and unlike the other
species may enter areas of low salinity and poor circulation. Young Foa are
found under ledges in deeper water than are adults. Apogon menesemus is most
abundant in clear, relatively deep water, especially where the substrate is almost
completely covered by live coral. It lives at the back of holes or caves. Apogon
erythrinus frequently inhabits small, dark holes in either dead coral heads or
basalt cliff caves. Apogonichthys waikiki is most often found in pairs in large,
widely spaced living coral heads. Apogon maculiferus adults are found under
ledges and in caves at depths of over 20 meters. Young A. maculiferus aggregations
are found in shallow water under ledges or at cave entrances. Apogon
snyderi has the widest habitat distribution, although it is restricted to substrates
with some sand. It lives in the middle of caves close to the floor, and under
rubble, coral heads, or ledges.
Each species reacts differently to increasing or decreasing light levels. Generally,
a species' response to a given amount of light in the laboratory is similar
in the field. In shallow water, adult Apogonichthys waikiki is not seen outside
holes unless light intensity is less than 1.75 fc. Apogon erythrinus emerges or
enters holes at about ±5 fc, A. menesemus at about 16 fc, and A. snyderi at
about 88 fc. Adult Foa brachygramma leaves or enters cover at about 2400 fc,
young Foa at about 700 fc. Adult Apogon maculiferus emerge and enter cover
at about 100 fc and young A. maculiferus at about 2700 fc. Diurnal predators
remove more individuals of species living in brighter light intensities; cavedwelling
predators remove those living in lower light intensities.
At night all species are opportunistic carnivores on zooplankton and benthic
invertebrates, but there are differences in their foraging locations. Apogon
snyderi and A. maculiferus forage mostly over light-colored substrates, but
A. maculiferus feeds nearer dawn, higher in the water, in aggregations, and
closer to large objects than does A. snyderi. Apogon erythrinus is found no more
than 3 cm from hard substrates, vertical and horizontal. The other three species
are found near large underwater objects. Foa brachygramma remains near the
bottom when there is a current, and groups of fish rise in the water column
on quiet nights when there is a half to full moon. Apogon menesemus is most
often found in midwater and is often located in the shadow of large underwater
objects on moonlit nights. Apogonichthys waikiki hovers near holes in the
isolated coral heads where it is found diurnally. Nocturnal predators take
individuals of all species except A. waikiki.
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 32, Number 3, 1978

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