Home-range size in juveniles of the temperate reef fish, the common triplefin (Forsterygion lapillum)

Paul J. Mensink, Jeffrey S. Shima

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1 Citation (Scopus)


An organism’s home range dictates the spatial scale on which important processes occur (e.g. competition and predation) and directly affects the relationship between individual fitness and local habitat quality. Many reef fish species have very restricted home ranges after settlement and, here, we quantify home-range size in juveniles of a widespread and abundant reef fish in New Zealand, the common triplefin (Forsterygion lapillum). We conducted visual observations on 49 juveniles (mean size = 35-mm total length) within the Wellington harbour, New Zealand. Home ranges were extremely small, 0.053 m2 ± 0.029 (mean ± s.d.) and were unaffected by adult density, body size or substrate composition. A regression tree indicated that home-range size sharply decreased ~4.5 juveniles m–2 and a linear mixed model confirmed that home-range sizes in high-density areas (>4.5 juveniles m–2) were significantly smaller (34%) than those in low-density areas (after accounting for a significant effect of fish movement on our home-range estimates). Our results suggest that conspecific density may have negative and non-linear effects on home-range size, which could shape the spatial distribution of juveniles within a population, as well as influence individual fitness across local density gradients.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine and Freshwater Research
Early online date30 Sep 2015
Publication statusEarly online date - 30 Sep 2015


  • animal movement
  • density-dependent space use
  • intraspecific interactions
  • marine reef fish
  • New Zealand


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