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Following Behavior: Interspecific Foraging Associations among Gulf of California Reef Fishes
Vol. 1988, No. 2 (May 18, 1988), pp. 351-357
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1445875
Page Count: 7
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Of 35 species of reef fishes studied in the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez), 17 spent some portion of their time following heterospecifics. A total of 71 interspecific combinations were observed. These foraging associations provide unique feeding opportunities for following individuals and are an important aspect of the foraging ecology of some reef species. Several species spent significant amounts of time in these associations. Small Mycteroperca rosacea (Serranidae) spent 25% of their time, and female Bodianus diplotaenia (Labridae) spent 12.8% of their time following heterospecifics. Species followed were those whose behavior caused the uncovering or flushing of small invertebrates and fishes. Most species were only followed while foraging, and their foraging behavior apparently elicited following by heterospecifics. Followers were highly selective, spending more time with those individuals whose foraging activities created the greatest disturbance. Two species, the moray eel (Gymnothorax castaneus) and Octopus sp. were followed whenever they moved across the reef. Animals that were followed were often in different foraging guilds from the followers. In situations where both were in the same guild, interactions ranged from food pilfering and competition to opportunistic predation upon prey which had escaped the animal being followed.