Redlip blenny (Ophioblennius macclurei) territoriality and feeding behavior

Redlip blennies (Ophioblennius macclurei) are common reef fish in Caribbean coral reef environments. They are vitally important to reefs as primary consumers providing a link between algal production and secondary consumers. This research sought to discover the territorial interactions between O. macclurei and other reef species, as well as the amount of grazing pressure placed on reefs by Blennid presence. Videos were taken 2-3 times per week between 26 September and 4 November 2012, and were used to assess feeding behavior and territorial defense. The data collected has applications in monitoring reef energy transfer up the food web and the amount of grazing pressure placed on a reef. The average area grazed per day was found to be 1100.09 cm2 . Territoriality is useful to understand the complex relationships between population of reef fish and suitable territory area. It was found that blennies primarily hide from fish intruding into their territory, but will not allow others of the same species to overlap territories. The preferred substrates noted in the study were Diploria labyrinthiformis and turf algae. The findings have importance in blenny conservation by showing habitats preference. Findings also indicate to future researchers the importance of including small grazers in benthic studies.

This student research was retrieved from Physis: Journal of Marine Science XII (Fall 2012)19: 101-107 from CIEE Bonaire.

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