Site-attachment behaviour of Oblada melanura (Linnaeus, 1758) (Osteichthyes: Sparidae) benthic larvae: a quantitative approach
Sotiris Kiparissis, George Tserpes, Stylianos Somarakis, Panos S. Economidis and Constantin Koutsikopoulos
The site-attachment behaviour of O. melanura settlers was examined in an estuarine area of western Greece. The approach that was followed included underwater assignments of shoal identities and continuous recording of specific behavioural traits. Variations between ontogenetic stages with respect to the pattern of residence at the sites were quantified via an index (the residence-persistence index (RPI)) devised for this purpose. Our findings suggest that this species initiates settlement in small shoals that occupy specific sites at the substratum where they reside for various days. This behavioural trait is stage-specific and gradually diminishes as the fish complete metamorphosis, while at the same time they change their social organisation. Such an ontogeny-dependent site-attachment behaviour has not been described before and is markedly different from that described for other members of the Sparidae family.