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Intertidal slope of coral sand beach as a unique habitat for fish: meiobenthic diet of the transparent sand dart, Kraemeria cunicularia (Gobiidae)
Tsubaki, R.; Kato, M. (2009). Intertidal slope of coral sand beach as a unique habitat for fish: meiobenthic diet of the transparent sand dart, Kraemeria cunicularia (Gobiidae). Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 156(8): 1739-1749. http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-009-1207-0
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Tsubaki, R.
  • Kato, M.

Abstract
    Coral sand beaches harbor gobiid sand darts (genus Kraemeria), the only fish known to live in the sand throughout their adult life. Despite the uniqueness of sand-dwelling habitat as a vertebrate, the biology of this fish remains unclear. To explore how this unique fish utilize an unusual habitat, we investigated diurnal patterns of microhabitat use and prey consumption by the transparent sand dart, Kraemeria cunicularia, at a sandy beach on Iriomote Island, the Ryukyu Archipelago, Japan. Sand darts were found in sediment in the lower intertidal zone throughout the daytime regardless of changes in tidal level, whereas at nighttime these fish were found swimming. Gut content analyses revealed that the sand dart diet was dominated by harpacticoid copepods throughout the day. Analyses of meiobenthic distribution indicated that these copepods were most abundant at lower intertidal zones where highest numbers of sand darts were found during the daytime; thus, it is possible that microhabitat use of the fish is largely determined by food availability. An extensive distributional survey throughout the Ryukyu Archipelago further indicated that sand darts prefer sandy beaches with well-sorted, coarse sand. These results provide novel insights into how sand darts respond to the tidal rhythm and highlight putative key environmental factors that determine their distribution at both regional and microhabitat scales.

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