We examined the variation of pelagic larval durations (PLDs) among three damselfishes, Dascyllus aruanus, D. marginatus, and D. trimaculatus, which live under the influence of an environmental gradient in the Red Sea. PLDs were significantly correlated with latitude, sea surface temperature (SST), and primary production (CHLA; chlorophyll a concentrations). We find a consistent decrease in PLDs with increasing SST and primary production (CHLA) towards the southern Red Sea among all species. This trend is likely related to higher food availability and increased metabolic rates in that region. We suggest that food availability is a potentially stronger driver of variation in PLD than temperature, especially in highly oligotrophic regions. Additionally, variations in PLDs were particularly high among specimens of D. marginatus, suggesting a stronger response to local environmental differences for endemic species. We also report the first average PLD for this species over a broad geographic range (19.82 ± 2.92 days).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Aquatic Science