Damsels in Distress: Temperate Damselfishes Take on Tropical Vagrants

Play Video






Shona Rankin
over 1 year ago


Territoriality is a widespread and key component to the fitness of many organisms, providing exclusive access to limited resources, such as food, mates and shelter. Although competition for resources is often more intense within species, individuals of different species with similar ecological requirements may compete by defending interspecific territories. Understanding interspecific territoriality and why it occurs is important because individuals which defend interspecific territories can impact the fitness of other species limiting access to important food resources, shelter from predators and suitable breeding areas.

To date, a limited number of studies have investigated the significance of interspecific territorial defence in marine fishes and the underlying reasons for territorial defence strategies between species. Damselfishes provide an ideal model system for investigations of interspecific territoriality, as many are strongly territorial defending territories from both conspecifics (members of the same species) and heterospecifics (individuals of different species). This study aims to investigate damselfish interspecific territoriality by quantifying and comparing the aggressive territorial responses of the temperate damselfish White-ear Damselfish (Parma microlepis) towards two novel tropical vagrant species, the Indo-Pacific Sergeant (Abudefduf vaigiensis) and the Australian Sawtail (Prionurus microlepidotus).

This study will provide a novel way to investigate interspecific territoriality, by using species not commonly found within the community and will provide an initial investigation into behavioural interactions between tropical vagrants and temperate species and will have important implications for understanding how behavioural interactions are likely to structure the redistribution of tropical species to higher latitudes.

Jasper Smith
over 1 year ago

You go girl!

Anne Marie
over 1 year ago

Congratulations Shona!

B Fox Phelan
over 1 year ago

This is an important thing to bring to light as most people have no idea about underwater ecosystems, even the ones they live right beside!

Nat Harris
over 1 year ago

Damsels in distress! Amazing work Shona!

Angelique Stolze
over 1 year ago

Amazing job!

Jai Brien-Cooper
over 1 year ago


Michael Hamilton
over 1 year ago


Georgia Holloway
over 1 year ago

Great work Shona

Adam Rogan
over 1 year ago

Super interesting! Great work.

Rachel Rogan
over 1 year ago

Awesome work ??