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Comparative demography of commercially important parrotfish species from Micronesia

Authors

  • B. M. Taylor,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld 4811, Australia
    2. ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld 4811, Australia
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  • J. H. Choat

    1. School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld 4811, Australia
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Abstract

Fishery-independent sampling was used to determine growth patterns, life span, mortality rates and timing of maturation and sex change in 12 common parrotfishes (Labridae: tribe Scarinae) from five genera (Calotomus, Cetoscarus, Chlorurus, Hipposcarus and Scarus) in Micronesia. Interspecific variation in life-history traits was explored using multivariate analysis. All species displayed strong sex-specific patterns of length-at-age among which males reached larger asymptotic lengths. There was a high level of correlation among life-history traits across species. Relationships between length-based and age-based variables were weakest, with a tenuous link between maximum body size and life span. Cluster analysis based on similarities among life-history traits demonstrated that species were significantly grouped at two major levels. The first grouping was driven by length-based variables (lengths at maturity and sex change and maximum length) and separated the small- and large-bodied species. Within these, species were grouped by age-based variables (age at maturity, mortality and life span). Groupings based on demographic and life-history features were independent of phylogenetic relationships at the given taxonomic level. The results reiterate that body size is an important characteristic differentiating species, but interspecific variation in age-based traits complicates its use as a life-history proxy. Detailed life-history metrics should facilitate future quantitative assessments of vulnerability to overexploitation in multispecies fisheries.

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