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Distribution and Community Structure of Butterflyfishes (Pisces: Chaetodontidae) in Southern Mozambique


M A Pereira
E J Videira

Abstract



Even though Mozambique has the greatest reported diversity of butterflyfishes (24
species) of the continental states of the Western Indian Ocean region, aspects of the ecology and distribution of this group in Mozambique are poorly documented. The distribution, diversity and community structure of butterflyfishes were studied on nine reefs in southern Mozambique using the point count method. Nineteen species from four genera were identified. Three with generalist feeding habits (i.e. Chaetodon auriga, C. guttatissimus and C. interruptus) were the most abundant with a wide distribution range. The butterflyfish communities of intertidal reefs at Inhaca Island differed from those of the offshore, subtidal reefs, as shown by uni- and multivariate analysis of abundance and diversity data. This is attributed to differences in habitat structure and food availability. However, most species occurred on both reef types. The butterflyfish diversity of the area is considered high and comparable to other high latitude reef areas in the world. These results emphasize the high biodiversity of the region and constitutes a latitudinal biodiversity peak. These findings also highlight the need for effective conservation
measures.

Keywords: butterflyfish, Chaetodontidae, community structure, diversity, distribution, southern Mozambique

West Indian Ocean Journal of Marine Science Vol. 4 (1) 2005: pp. 39-46