Scientia Marina, Vol 78, No 2 (2014)

Abundance and behavioural ecology of the blenny Ophioblennius trinitatis (Teleostei: Blenniidae) at an oceanic archipelago of Brazil (Atlantic)

Paulo R. Medeiros
Unidade Acadêmica de Ciências Exatas e da Natureza, Universidade Federal de Campina Grande - Centro de Ciências Exatas e da Natureza, Universidade Federal da Paraíba , Brazil

Danilo P. Rada
Centro de Ciências Exatas e da Natureza, Universidade Federal da Paraíba , Brazil

Ricardo S. Rosa
Centro de Ciências Exatas e da Natureza, Universidade Federal da Paraíba , Brazil


Local patterns of fish density, microhabitat use, feeding behaviour, bite rate, territory area and agonistic interactions were recorded for Ophioblennius trinitatis at an oceanic archipelago (southwestern Atlantic). Rugosity, number of crevices and benthic diversity positively predicted the distribution of O. trinitatis. Turf algae was the preferred food item at all sites, but given its high availability inside and outside territory boundaries, it did not seem to be a limiting factor on the density of this blenny, as opposed to substrate heterogeneity. Bite rate was higher in the afternoon and for smaller individuals (juveniles). Territory size showed local variation and, although larger territories may be an effect of density-dependent conditions (more available space in low-density areas), we propose that individuals expand territories to compensate for residing in areas of lower quality (i.e. of low structural complexity). Larger individuals defended larger territories and residents responded differently to intruders, with higher rates of agonistic interactions towards potential competitors. Higher agonistic rates were also observed in larger territories and at low-complexity sites.


behaviour; Blennidae; Brazil; density; territory; microhabitat

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