Seaweeds preferred by herbivorous fishes uri icon

abstract

  • Marine macrobenthic algae (or seaweeds), epiphytic microalgae, and other aquatic plants constitute the main food items of marine herbivorous fishes. About 5% of all fish species are herbivorous; only 30% of these are marine, most of them living in coral reefs. An analysis was performed on all the seaweeds that formed part of the natural diet of these fishes, based on information contained in FishBase (http://www.fishbase.org). The results showed that many coral-reef-associated marine herbivorous fishes, such as the families Blennidae, Kyphosidae and Siganidae, fed selectively on filamentous and turf fleshy seaweeds, which they prefer over calcareous coralline and encrusting species. In particular, Chlorophyceae of the genera Cladophora, Enteromorpha and Ulva were preferred by Scartichthys viridis (Blennidae), Girella spp. ( Kyphosidae), Sarpa salpa (Sparidae), and Phaeophyceae in the genera Sargassum and Dictyota were preferred by Kyphosus spp. ( Kyphosidae) and Siganus spp. ( Siganidae). A web-based tool was developed to provide information on plants (algae, seagrasses, terrestrial plants and fruits) preferred as food by herbivorous fishes (http://www.incofish.org/herbitool.php). The tool is intended to assist aquaculturists, conservationists and ecosystem-based fisheries managers.

publication date

  • 2008
  • 2008
  • 2008