Reef sites Antagonistic behavior between two honeycomb cowﬁsh, Acanthostracion polygonius Poey, 1876, at Curac¸ao The honeycomb cowﬁsh, Acanthostracion polygo- nius Poey, 1876 (Ostraciidae) is easily distinguish- able from other Caribbean coral reef ﬁsh. Both females and males possess a heavy external bony box with uniformly hexagonal scale plates as armor, as well as a pair of spines projecting from the carapace above the eyes and anterior to the £ ﬁn (Moyer 1984). They are known to feed on a variety of invertebrates, including tunicates, alcyonaceans, shrimps, gas- tropods, and at least 15 species of sponges (Randall 1967; Wulff 1994). During a coral reef biodiversity survey at Cur- ac¸ao (June 2017), two A. polygonius individuals were engaged in what appeared to be either a failed mating ritual dance or a male–male territorial dispute (Fig. 1). It is likely that the encounter is that of a male–male confrontation since the distinctive hum- ming sound of the male prior to gamete release was not heard, nor any spawning was observed (Moyer 1984). The ﬁghting behavior resembled that of Lac- toria diaphana from the Indo-Paciﬁc; upon seeing each other, the pair proceeded to ﬂash and display their bright neon-blue coloration (Moyer 1984). Aggressively charging each other, they took turns sucking/biting their respective underside belly as they rose in the water column (from 6 m depth) in a circular motion (Fig. 1). Upon reaching the proximity of the surface, with the larger (more dominant) trunkﬁsh attached to the smaller ﬁsh, the pair broke off and swam toward the reef in opposite directions. Within the scientiﬁc literature, little is known regarding cowﬁsh social structure, reproduction, and territorial competition. This re- cord shines light into a previously known ritual, yet still misunderstood behavior of trunkﬁshes in the Caribbean. Acknowledgements JEGH thanks Naturalis Biodiversity Center for research support through a Martin Fellowship, CARMABI staff for hospitality, and BW Hoeksema for comments on this manuscript. Compliance with ethical standards Conﬂict of interest The correspond- ing author states that there is no conﬂict of interest. Fig. 1 Acanthostracion polygonius displaying aggressive behavior. a, b Both individuals ﬂaunting their bright blue colors while taking turns biting each other. c, d Smaller ﬁsh biting the larger one prior to separating References Moyer JT (1984) Social organization and reproductive behavior of Ostraciid ﬁshes from Japan and the Western Atlantic Ocean. J Ethol 2:85–98 Randall JE (1967) Food habits of reef ﬁshes of the West Indies. Stud Trop Oceanog 5:665–847 Wulff JL (1994) Sponge feeding by Caribbean angelﬁshes, trunkﬁshes, and ﬁleﬁshes. In: van Soest RWM, van Kempen TMG, Braekman JC (eds) Sponges in time and space: biology, chemistry, paleontology. AA Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 265–271 J. E. Garcı´a-Herna´ndez (&) Marine Genomic Biodiversity Laboratory, Marine Science Department, University of Puerto Rico-Mayagu¨ez, Isla Magueyes Research Station, Mayagu¨ez, PR 00667, USA e-mail: email@example.com J. E. Garcı´a-Herna´ndez Naturalis Biodiversity Center, P.O. Box 9517, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands Coral Reefs (2018) 37:807 Received: 14 May 2018 / Accepted: 28 May 2018 / Published online: 5 June 2018 Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018 DOI 10.1007/s00338-018-1705-y
Coral Reefs – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 5, 2018
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