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Research Article
Food Preferences of the Butterflyfish Chaetodon melannotus on the Reef Flat in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

Magdy A. Alwany, Michael Stachowitsch, Mahmoud H. Hanafy and Ali A.F.A. Gab-Alla

Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science, 2007, 2(1), 38-46.

Abstract

The food preferences of the highly specialized butterflyfish Chaetodon melannotus were investigated on the reef flat in the Northern Red Sea, Egypt. The food items include nine species of soft corals (belonging to 7 genera, Sinularia, Litophyton, Nephthea, Sarcophyton, Heteroxenia, Lobophytum and Parerythropodium), one species of stolonifera (Tubipora musica), hard substrate and other minor items (including the hard coral genus Pocillipora and soft coral genus Cladiella). In general, the total average feeding rate of C. melannotus was 40.6± 7.6 bites (5 min)‾1. The two most strongly selected genera, Sinularia and Litophyton, represented 78.0% of the total food items: Sinularia [22.6 bites (5 min)‾1, 55.7%], Litophyton [9.0 bites (5 min)‾1, 22.3%]. Based on Ivlev’s electivity index, C. melannotus prefers Heteroxenia fuscescens over other soft corals in the Northern Red Sea and tends to feed less on others such as Sarcophyton ehrenbergi and Lobophytum pauciflorum.

ASCI-ID: 54-46

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