Follower fish of the goldspotted eel Myrichthys ocellatus with a review on anguilliform fish as nuclear species

Helgoland Marine Research. 2018;72(1):1-8 DOI 10.1186/s10152-017-0503-1


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Helgoland Marine Research

ISSN: 1438-387X (Print); 1438-3888 (Online)

Publisher: BMC

Society/Institution: Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research

LCC Subject Category: Geography. Anthropology. Recreation: Oceanography | Science: Biology (General): Ecology

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML



Maria L. F. Ternes (Programa de Pós-Graduação em Zoologia, Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz)
Vinicius J. Giglio (Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro)
Thiago C. Mendes (Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro)
Pedro H. C. Pereira (Programa de Pós-Graduação em Oceanografia, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco)


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 3 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Abstract In a nuclear-follower fish foraging association, the follower benefits from food uncovered or flushed out when the nuclear fish disturbs the bottom, while nuclear species generally do not seem to be benefiting. Among nuclear species, eels (anguilliform fish) are known to be one of the most represented groups. Here we investigated the frequency and time duration of foraging associations among the goldspotted eel Myrichthys ocellatus and reef fish in a subtropical marginal reef. In addition, we reviewed nuclear eel species and their followers described in the literature. From a total of 211 goldspotted eels observed, seven follower species were recorded in 19% of the samples. The average time of the following associations per species ranged from 40 to 190 s. Four species were reported for the first time as M. ocellatus followers (Bodianus rufus, B. pulchellus, Stephanolepis hispidus, and Serranus baldwini) and three of them have never been reported in the literature as eel followers (B. pulchellus, S. hispidus, and S. baldwini). The literature describes 13 eel species acting as nuclear for 66 fish species, represented mainly by groupers and sea basses. The size of the eel was not correlated with the size of its follower and neither with the number of described follower species. The nuclear role of eels is likely to be an important component of the trophic ecology of small and medium-sized macrocarnivore fish.