Relative gut lengths of coral reef butterflyfishes (Pisces: Chaetodontidae)
Berumen, Michael L.
Pratchett, Morgan S.
Goodman, B. A.
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Variation in gut length of closely related animals is known to generally be a good predictor of dietary habits. We examined gut length in 28 species of butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae), which encompass a wide range of dietary types (planktivores, omnivores, corallivores). We found general dietary patterns to be a good predictor of relative gut length, although we found high variation among groups and covariance with body size. The longest gut lengths are found in species that exclusively feed on the living tissue of corals, while the shortest gut length is found in a planktivorous species. Although we tried to control for phylogeny, corallivory has arisen multiple times in this family, confounding our analyses. The butterflyfishes, a speciose family with a wide range of dietary habits, may nonetheless provide an ideal system for future work studying gut physiology associated with specialisation and foraging behaviours.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2011. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Springer for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Coral Reefs 30 (2011): 1005-1010, doi:10.1007/s00338-011-0791-x.
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