Gut characteristics and assimilation efficiencies in two species of herbivorous damselfishes (Pomacentridae: Stegastes dorsopunicans and S. planifrons)

A. Cleveland, Linn W Montgomery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The morphological and physiological mechanisms by which marine herbivores assimilate energy and nutrients from primary producers and transfer them to higher trophic levels of reef ecosystems are poorly understood. Two wide-ranging Caribbean fishes, the dusky damselfish, Stegastes dorsopunicans, and the threespot damselfish, S. planifrons, defend territories on patch reefs in the Archipelago de San Blas, Republic of Panama. We examined how relative intestine length and retention time influence digestion and absorption of energy and nutrients in these fishes. The dusky damselfish has a relative intestine length (RIL=intestine length/standard length) of 1.2 and a Zihler index {ZI = intestine length (mm)/10[mass(g)1/3]} of 3.4. These values are significantly lower (PRIL = PZI < 0.0001) than those for the threespot damselfish (3.0 and 8.2, respectively). Both RIL and ZI for both species fall well below previously published values for other herbivorous pomacentrids, and may reflect their primary food resource at San Blas (diatoms). Energy-rich diatoms may be easier to digest than refractory macroalgae characteristic of diets of many herbivorous fishes (RIL range: 2-20). Despite differences in RIL and ZI between these two species, gut retention time is the same (P > 0.05) for both dusky (6.6 h) and threespot damselfish (6.5 h). Thus, food travels the length of the threespot damselfish intestine ∼2.5 times faster than it does in the dusky damselfish intestine. Levels of protein, carbohydrate, and lipid are significantly (0.003 < P < 0.030) higher in the feces of dusky damselfish than in the feces of three-spot damselfish, when both species were fed a natural diet of benthic diatoms collected from damselfish territories. This indicates threespot damselfish have a greater nutrient-specific and total assimilation efficiency than do dusky damselfish. Furthermore, when fed an artificial pellet diet, protein absorption efficiency differed significantly (P = 0.014) between species; threespot damselfish absorbed 98.3% of dietary protein, whereas dusky damselfish absorbed 96.4% of dietary protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-44
Number of pages10
JournalMarine Biology
Volume142
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

Fingerprint

assimilation efficiency
Pomacentridae
assimilation (physiology)
digestive system
protein
feces
nutrient
reef
intestines
diet
absorption efficiency
fish
trophic level
archipelago
energy
digestion
carbohydrate
herbivore
dietary protein
diatom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science

Cite this

@article{c96e6652d1ac4142872b590aca52cf92,
title = "Gut characteristics and assimilation efficiencies in two species of herbivorous damselfishes (Pomacentridae: Stegastes dorsopunicans and S. planifrons)",
abstract = "The morphological and physiological mechanisms by which marine herbivores assimilate energy and nutrients from primary producers and transfer them to higher trophic levels of reef ecosystems are poorly understood. Two wide-ranging Caribbean fishes, the dusky damselfish, Stegastes dorsopunicans, and the threespot damselfish, S. planifrons, defend territories on patch reefs in the Archipelago de San Blas, Republic of Panama. We examined how relative intestine length and retention time influence digestion and absorption of energy and nutrients in these fishes. The dusky damselfish has a relative intestine length (RIL=intestine length/standard length) of 1.2 and a Zihler index {ZI = intestine length (mm)/10[mass(g)1/3]} of 3.4. These values are significantly lower (PRIL = PZI < 0.0001) than those for the threespot damselfish (3.0 and 8.2, respectively). Both RIL and ZI for both species fall well below previously published values for other herbivorous pomacentrids, and may reflect their primary food resource at San Blas (diatoms). Energy-rich diatoms may be easier to digest than refractory macroalgae characteristic of diets of many herbivorous fishes (RIL range: 2-20). Despite differences in RIL and ZI between these two species, gut retention time is the same (P > 0.05) for both dusky (6.6 h) and threespot damselfish (6.5 h). Thus, food travels the length of the threespot damselfish intestine ∼2.5 times faster than it does in the dusky damselfish intestine. Levels of protein, carbohydrate, and lipid are significantly (0.003 < P < 0.030) higher in the feces of dusky damselfish than in the feces of three-spot damselfish, when both species were fed a natural diet of benthic diatoms collected from damselfish territories. This indicates threespot damselfish have a greater nutrient-specific and total assimilation efficiency than do dusky damselfish. Furthermore, when fed an artificial pellet diet, protein absorption efficiency differed significantly (P = 0.014) between species; threespot damselfish absorbed 98.3{\%} of dietary protein, whereas dusky damselfish absorbed 96.4{\%} of dietary protein.",
author = "A. Cleveland and Montgomery, {Linn W}",
year = "2003",
month = "1",
day = "1",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "142",
pages = "35--44",
journal = "Marine Biology",
issn = "0025-3162",
publisher = "Springer Verlag",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Gut characteristics and assimilation efficiencies in two species of herbivorous damselfishes (Pomacentridae

T2 - Stegastes dorsopunicans and S. planifrons)

AU - Cleveland, A.

AU - Montgomery, Linn W

PY - 2003/1/1

Y1 - 2003/1/1

N2 - The morphological and physiological mechanisms by which marine herbivores assimilate energy and nutrients from primary producers and transfer them to higher trophic levels of reef ecosystems are poorly understood. Two wide-ranging Caribbean fishes, the dusky damselfish, Stegastes dorsopunicans, and the threespot damselfish, S. planifrons, defend territories on patch reefs in the Archipelago de San Blas, Republic of Panama. We examined how relative intestine length and retention time influence digestion and absorption of energy and nutrients in these fishes. The dusky damselfish has a relative intestine length (RIL=intestine length/standard length) of 1.2 and a Zihler index {ZI = intestine length (mm)/10[mass(g)1/3]} of 3.4. These values are significantly lower (PRIL = PZI < 0.0001) than those for the threespot damselfish (3.0 and 8.2, respectively). Both RIL and ZI for both species fall well below previously published values for other herbivorous pomacentrids, and may reflect their primary food resource at San Blas (diatoms). Energy-rich diatoms may be easier to digest than refractory macroalgae characteristic of diets of many herbivorous fishes (RIL range: 2-20). Despite differences in RIL and ZI between these two species, gut retention time is the same (P > 0.05) for both dusky (6.6 h) and threespot damselfish (6.5 h). Thus, food travels the length of the threespot damselfish intestine ∼2.5 times faster than it does in the dusky damselfish intestine. Levels of protein, carbohydrate, and lipid are significantly (0.003 < P < 0.030) higher in the feces of dusky damselfish than in the feces of three-spot damselfish, when both species were fed a natural diet of benthic diatoms collected from damselfish territories. This indicates threespot damselfish have a greater nutrient-specific and total assimilation efficiency than do dusky damselfish. Furthermore, when fed an artificial pellet diet, protein absorption efficiency differed significantly (P = 0.014) between species; threespot damselfish absorbed 98.3% of dietary protein, whereas dusky damselfish absorbed 96.4% of dietary protein.

AB - The morphological and physiological mechanisms by which marine herbivores assimilate energy and nutrients from primary producers and transfer them to higher trophic levels of reef ecosystems are poorly understood. Two wide-ranging Caribbean fishes, the dusky damselfish, Stegastes dorsopunicans, and the threespot damselfish, S. planifrons, defend territories on patch reefs in the Archipelago de San Blas, Republic of Panama. We examined how relative intestine length and retention time influence digestion and absorption of energy and nutrients in these fishes. The dusky damselfish has a relative intestine length (RIL=intestine length/standard length) of 1.2 and a Zihler index {ZI = intestine length (mm)/10[mass(g)1/3]} of 3.4. These values are significantly lower (PRIL = PZI < 0.0001) than those for the threespot damselfish (3.0 and 8.2, respectively). Both RIL and ZI for both species fall well below previously published values for other herbivorous pomacentrids, and may reflect their primary food resource at San Blas (diatoms). Energy-rich diatoms may be easier to digest than refractory macroalgae characteristic of diets of many herbivorous fishes (RIL range: 2-20). Despite differences in RIL and ZI between these two species, gut retention time is the same (P > 0.05) for both dusky (6.6 h) and threespot damselfish (6.5 h). Thus, food travels the length of the threespot damselfish intestine ∼2.5 times faster than it does in the dusky damselfish intestine. Levels of protein, carbohydrate, and lipid are significantly (0.003 < P < 0.030) higher in the feces of dusky damselfish than in the feces of three-spot damselfish, when both species were fed a natural diet of benthic diatoms collected from damselfish territories. This indicates threespot damselfish have a greater nutrient-specific and total assimilation efficiency than do dusky damselfish. Furthermore, when fed an artificial pellet diet, protein absorption efficiency differed significantly (P = 0.014) between species; threespot damselfish absorbed 98.3% of dietary protein, whereas dusky damselfish absorbed 96.4% of dietary protein.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0038793697&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0038793697&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:0038793697

VL - 142

SP - 35

EP - 44

JO - Marine Biology

JF - Marine Biology

SN - 0025-3162

IS - 1

ER -