Title

Associations between behavioural ontogeny and habitat change in clupeoid larvae

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-1-2009

Publication Title

Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Volume

78

Issue

4

First Page

1281

Last Page

1294

DOI

10.1017/S0025315400044490

Abstract

The ontogeny of evasive behaviours was examined in Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus, Clupeidae) and bay anchovy (Anchoa mitchilli, Engraulidae), with supplemental data for scaled sardine (Harengula jaguana, Clupeidae). Predicted relationships between ecology and behavioural ontogeny were tested using the different patterns of inshore vs offshore habitat utilization displayed by these species. In two of the species, menhaden and anchovy, the roles of vision, mechanoreception, and audition in evasive behaviours were examined ontogenetically and compared to the morphological development of these sensory systems. Anchovy early larvae were more responsive to a predatory stimulus than were menhaden; sardine early larvae were intermediate in responsiveness. By the end of the larval period most individuals tested in all three species responded. These results matched the pattern predicted by larval habitat. Ontogenetic trends in reactive distance did not match predictions based on habitat for these species but instead appeared to be more dependent upon changes in sensory morphology. In menhaden, ontogenetic changes in responsiveness were more dependent upon neuromast proliferation and cephalic lateral-line canal formation, while in anchovy these behavioural changes were more dependent upon ontogeny of the retina. Auditory stimuli were not implicated for either menhaden or anchovy in responding to the stimulus used.