On the central coast of Chile, distribution of body size in Graus nigra varied with tidal pool height. With the objective of determining whether environmental temperature is one of the possible causes which explains the observed distribution pattern, two behavioural responses were analysed during an experimental period of increasing water temperature: number of opercular movements (an indirect measure of energy expenditure) and activity levels. The interactions of temperature x time and body size x time had a significant effect on the number of opercular movements. At low temperatures (13-15°C), large fish reached a maximum number of opercular movements, while small fish reached a maximum only at high temperatures (23-25°C). The interaction temperature x time had a significant effect on activity levels of different body sizes. In general, large fish appeared to be less active than small fish, however, at very high temperatures (24-26°C) all individuals increased their activity levels. These data indicate that small fish are acclimatized to live in a wider range of temperatures (13-23°C), and, for fish of all body sizes, the highest temperatures (23-26°C) probably constitute a suboptimal microhabitat. Strong territoriality was observed, with large individuals displacing smaller individuals. These data suggest that temperature is an important factor in explaining why large individuals are not present in high tidal pools (high temperatures), whereas territoriality explains why small individuals are not in low tidal pools (habitat of large individuals).
Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus
- Ciencias acuáticas
- Ecología, evolución, comportamiento y sistemática