Communication and Perception
Damselfishes (Pomacentridae) use a variety of visual, olfactory, tactile, and auditory cues to communicate in different situations. During courtship damselfishes respond to the sight of spawning colors and ritualized movements performed by a potential mate (see Reproduction: Mating Systems). Such movements may also signal the location of territory to other males or encourage reproductive synchrony. Anemonefishes (Amphiprion and Premnas) appear to use perception of individual color differences to recognize their monogamous partner. In addition to visual cues, male damselfishes use sound to ward off other males and sometimes as part of courtship and spawning rituals. They may touch and nip females to guide them toward a nest. Chemical cues from some damselfishes may encourage conspecific (individuals of the same species) juveniles to establish nearby territories and may discourage other groups of damselfish from settling. Young anemonefishes use visual and chemical cues when choosing a preferred species of anemone as host.
Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
Perception Channels: visual ; acoustic
- Myrberg, A., L. Fuiman. 2002. The Sensory World of Coral Reef Fishes. Pp. 146 in P Sale, ed. Coral Reef Fishes: Dynamics and Diversity in a Complex Ecosystem. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.