Blacksmith damsel fish and algae symbiotic relationship

Blacksmith | Mexico – Fish, Marine Life, Birds and Terrestrial Life

Neon damselfish from East Timor Habitat Many species live in tropical. [8] Causes Coral and microscopic algae have a symbiotic relationship. .. known as the blacksmith chromis and blacksmith damselfish, is a fish in the damselfish family. negative correlation of fish and substrate algae was explained by a foraging efficiency .. flourish in oligotrophic tropical waters through their unique symbiosis with .. damselfish family would swim upstream towards its habitat of choice, the off of southern California, where Chromis punctipinnis (larger blacksmith), a. Geographic variation in the damselfish-red alga cultivation mutualism in the Indo- West Pacific. BMC Evolutionary Biology, ; (in press) [link].

Individuals in suboptimal territories frequently attempt to relocate, and so those in optimal habitats must constantly monitor territorial occupancy. Territorial aggression is often proportional to territory quality. Movements outside of territorial borders, called forays, are common and may span distances of sixteen meters or more.

Three types of forays exist. The shortest-distance ones are involved in foraging. Longer forays usually involve courtship activity and mating. Non-feeding and non-reproductive forays are associated with territorial reoccupation. Courtship In the species S. Even though large male size can be advantageous in defending nests and eggs against conspecifics among many animals, nest intrusions are not observed in this damselfish species.

Mexico – Fish, Marine Life, Birds and Terrestrial Life

Females also do not choose their mates based upon the brood sizes of the males. In spite of the increased male parental care, brood size does not affect egg survival, as eggs are typically taken during the night when the males are not defending their nests.

Rather, female choice of mates is dependent on male courtship rate. Males signal their parental quality by the vigor of their courtship displays, and females mate preferentially with vigorously courting males.

The signal jump involves large amounts of rapid swimming, and females choose mates based on the vigor with which males do so. Females determine the male courtship rates using sounds that are produced during signal jumps. As the male damselfish swims down the water column, it creates a pulsed sound. Male courtship varies in the number and rates of those pulses. Female size is significantly correlated with ovary weight, and males intensify their courtship rituals for the more fecund females.

Research has shown that males that mate with larger females do indeed receive and hatch greater numbers of eggs. Among this species, evolutionary selection favors those males that begin mating as soon as possible during spawning seasons even if the most favorable egg clutches are spawned at later times.

Shelter sites are essential for the bicolor damselfish in avoiding predation, and females may evaluate the suitability of these sites at a male territory before depositing their eggs. The distance to the territory of a mate influences the number of visits that a female undergoes with a male.

At short distances, females make many repeated visits. At longer ones, they may spawn their entire clutch in one visit. This plasticity in mating behavior can be attributed to two factors: Thus, a spawning female should return to its home as often as possible.

However, a greater number of spawning visits increases the chance of being attacked, especially when mating with males that are far away. To minimize overall costs, females change their number of spawning visits depending on male territory distance.


Studies have shown it typically consumes over twenty-five percent of its clutches. The males generally consume clutches that are smaller than average in size, as well as those that are still in the early stages of development.

Female cortez damselfish tend to deposit their eggs with males who are already caring for early-stage eggs, rather than males with late-stage eggs. This preference is seen particularly in females that deposit smaller-sized clutches, which are more vulnerable to being consumed.

For the males, filial cannibalism is an adaptive response to clutches that do not provide enough benefits to warrant the costs of parental care. They reach a maximum length of Adults consume algae and zooplankton whereas juveniles eat small crustaceans and juvenile squid. They are preyed upon by larger fish, numerous sea birds, and various marine mammals including the California Sea Lion and harbor seals.

They are non-migratory and highly territorial and will aggressively attack intruders. They are known to retreat in close knit aggregations and rest in rocky crevices during the night. Juveniles are pelagic and travel in schools.

Reproduction is oviparous with distinct pairings during breeding.

Damselfish 'garden' algae | EurekAlert! Science News

Eggs are demersal and attach to the substrate. Males guard and aerate the eggs until they hatch. In Mexican waters the Blacksmiths have a limited distribution being found from Guerrero Negro northward along the central and northwest coasts of Baja. Due to its coloration and body profile, the Blacksmith cannot be confused with any other species.