Habitat utilization by an invasive herbivorous fish (Siganus rivulatus) in its native and invaded range Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Movement is essential for understanding the distribution and abundance of animals. While it has been suggested that invasion success can be facilitated by species’ ability to adapt to novel environments, direct comparisons of movement patterns between native and invaded ranges of animals in their natural habitat are rare. The rivulated rabbitfish Siganus rivulatus was introduced from the Red Sea into the Mediterranean, where it is now found in extremely high abundances, and has overgrazed the coastal marine ecosystem in many locations. Through a continuous acoustic tracking system, we found that the movement of S. rivulatus individuals at a Mediterranean site differed substantially from those at a Red Sea site, with individuals in the Mediterranean having larger overall home ranges and lower site fidelity. However, no variation between sites was found in daily home range sizes. Results show that at the Mediterranean site S. rivulatus individuals have a larger spatial footprint, which may contribute to their impact and ability to expand their distribution. This study demonstrates a potential shift in individual movement of a marine invasive species between its native and invaded range, and highlights the role of movement in understanding biological invasions.

publication date

  • January 1, 2018