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Neotropical Ichthyology

Print version ISSN 1679-6225


BARRETO, Rodrigo Egydio; JUNQUEIRA, Maria Fernanda Coelho; TJUI-YEUW, Tan  and  VOLPATO, Gilson Luiz. Spatial choice is biased by chemical cues from conspecifics in the speckeled worm eel Myrophis punctatus. Neotrop. ichthyol. [online]. 2010, vol.8, n.4, pp. 899-902.  Epub Oct 15, 2010. ISSN 1679-6225.

The speckeld worm eel Myrophis punctatus lives in high-densities assemblages, and usually digs through, or lies on the substrate. These behaviours could lead to chemical marks on the substrate and could modulate the spatial distribution in this species. We tested the hypothesis that the spatial choice of the speckled worm eel is modulated by the presence of conspecific odour on the substrate. Here, we showed that the speckled worm eel avoids the substrate area containing the conspecific odour, indicating that this chemical cue modulates the eel's spatial decision. The eels clearly detected the conspecific's odour. This perception might indicate the presence of conspecifics into the substrate. Since the eels avoided an area containing conspecific odour, we suggest this may be a response that avoids the consequences of invading a resident-animal's territory.

Keywords : Chemical communication; Chemoreception; Estuarine fish; Territoriality; Aggression.

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