Commensal vs. parasitic relationship between Carapini fish and their hosts: some further insight through d13C and d15N measurements

Parmentier E & Das K
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 301, 47-58. 2004


In the Moorea Lagoon (French Polynesia), the pearlfish Carapus boraborensis, C. homei, C. mourlani and Encheliophis gracilis are generally found inside echinoderm hosts such as the holothurian Bohadschia argus and the starfish Culcita novaeguineae. At the end of their larval stage, these fish settle on the reef and directly enter their echinoderm host where they undergo an important metamorphosis. The aim of this study was to get further insight on the type of symbiosis (commensal vs. parasite) between these fish and their hosts. d15N and d13C measurements were determined in the tissues of invertebrate hosts (holothurians and starfish) and carapids (larvae, juveniles and adults). The obtained isotopic signatures reveal different kinds of associations: metamorphosing larvae, juveniles and adults of C. boraborensis and C. homei do not feed at all on host holothurian tissues, C. mourlani and its asterian host display a commensal relationship without any feeding association, while E. gracilis is likely to feed on the tissue of the holothurian.


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