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Reproduction
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Siganids characteristically school in small to large groups, with some species, such as Siganus fuscescens and Siganus luridus, breaking off into pairs or small units after spawning begins. Other members of the Siganidae family, such as the foxface, form monogamous pairs. Individual pairs or groups behave aggressively towards one another resulting in wide spacing throughout the reef during spawning. Just before gametes are released, most siganids move in a circular pattern and the males develop a marble color pattern.

Mating System: monogamous ; polygynandrous (promiscuous)

Before spawning, siganids migrate to traditional spawning areas, with the location varying among species. Spawning peaks in spring and early summer, and, as with many other coastal species, siganids show a prominent lunar rhythm. Spawning usually takes place at night or early morning and coincides with outgoing tides. Siganid larvae also respond to the lunar cycle, as most appear inshore (after the initial pelagic stage) three to five days before the new moon.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (External ); oviparous

There is no evidence of parental care in the Siganidae family.

Parental Investment: no parental involvement

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The fossil history of the Siganidae family contains three known fossil genera. From the Eocene epoch there is Ruffoichthys from Italy and Siganopygaeus from Turkmenistan. From the Oligocene epoch there is Archaeoteuthis from Switzerland (Tyler and Sorbini, 1990 from Nelson 1994).

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Behavior
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No specific information was found concerning communication methods used by this group.

Communication Channels: visual

Perception Channels: tactile ; vibrations ; chemical

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Conservation Status
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Currently, there is no known conservation threat to any member of this family.

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Life Cycle
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Members of the Siganidae family first produce small adhesive egg sacs, which then become larvae. The larval stage is planktonic and develops into a distinctive post-larval stage called the acronurus, which is characteristic for members of the suborder Acanthuroidei. In the acronurus stage the body is transparent and individuals remain pelagic for an extended period before settling into the adult habitat and rapidly changing into the juvenile form. There is considerable morphological difference between larvae and adults and current information suggests that males reach sexual maturity before females throughout the family.

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Comprehensive Description
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The Siganidae family is composed of one genus, Siganus, and two subgenera, Siganus with 22 species and Lo with five species (Woodland (1990) from Nelson 1994). Siganids get their common name, rabbitfishes, from their peaceful temperament, rounded blunt snout, and rabbit-like appearance of the jaws. They are important reef herbivores that browse individually or in schools over the reef or feed on plankton within the water column.

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Benefits
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No specific information was found concerning any negative impacts to humans.

Negative Impacts: injures humans (bites or stings, venomous )

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Benefits
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Some siganids are important food fishes in many areas and colorful species are popular in the aquarium trade. The fast growth rate and shallow browsing habits of siganids make them ideal for aquaculture, as evidenced by numerous studies on their growth and reproduction.

Positive Impacts: pet trade ; food

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Associations
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All siganids are diurnal herbivores and fill the roles of grazer and planktivore. Herbivores are quite important for the reef because they keep thick mats of filamentous and leafy algae from smothering the corals. They keep the mat only 1 to 2 mm thick and can strip vegetation from a 10 m wide ring around the reef. Other siganids use the reef mainly for shelter but “hover above it in brilliant, shifting shoals, while feeding on plankton.” These fish deposit feces in the small crevices where they hide, which is important in promoting the growth and diversity of corals (Hixon 1991; Lewis 1986 in Moyle and Cech 2000).

Ecosystem Impact: creates habitat

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Trophic Strategy
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Most siganids are herbivorous and feed on phytoplankton or attached algae.

Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore ); planktivore

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Distribution
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Siganids are naturally confined to the tropical Indo-Pacific, but are now found in the eastern Mediterranean as well. Siganus fuscescens is at least one species that has been able to penetrate from the Red Sea through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean, where it is now locally common.

Biogeographic Regions: palearctic (Native ); indian ocean (Native ); pacific ocean (Native )

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Habitat
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Siganids are marine and mainly inhabit reefs, shallow lagoons, sea grasses or mangrove areas. They can be found along reef edges with broken rock, reef flats with scattered coral heads or near grass flats, and often come into very shallow waters to feed in algae. They are rarely found in estuaries, and only one species, Siganus lineatus, is truly estuarine. Some primarily estuarine species have been successfully introduced into freshwater lake and pond habitats as well.

Habitat Regions: tropical ; saltwater or marine

Aquatic Biomes: pelagic ; reef ; coastal

Other Habitat Features: estuarine ; intertidal or littoral

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Life Expectancy
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Generally, smaller reef fishes such as siganids live between three and five years.

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Morphology
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The siganids have many strong spines with venom glands in dorsal and anal fins that contain a painful toxin. Most siganids are countershaded, but some reef species, Siganus vulpinus, have coloration similar to butterflyfishes. The teeth of siganids are compressed into a single row and asymmetrically bicuspid. The pelvic formula is unique (I, 3, I,) reflecting the hard spines at either end of the fin. The dorsal fin has 13 spines and 10 soft rays and the anal fin has 7 spines and 10 soft rays. There are 23 vertebrate and the maximum length is approximately 50 cm. (Click here to see a fish diagram).

Rabbitfishes are quite colorful and can be easily identified during daylight hours. However, at night or when threatened, they change drastically as color fades and dark blotches appear. Similarly, at death colors fade rapidly, making identification after preservation difficult. Although there are no significant differences between the sexes in this group, females are larger than males in some, if not all, species.

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; bilateral symmetry ; polymorphic ; venomous

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike; female larger

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Associations
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Siganids are most threatened by predation during the planktonic, larval stage and very few larvae survive. On reefs, where most siganids live, predation is the most important cause of death (Hixon, 1991 in Moyle and Cech, 2000). The elaborate defenses in the form of poisonous spines are a testament to predation pressures. The sharp, strong spines are coated with a mucous mixed with venom and can inflict painful wounds. As discussed in physical description above, rabbitfishes lose their color at nightfall and may also change color if threatened.

Known Predators:

  • humans (Homo sapiens)

Anti-predator Adaptations: aposematic ; cryptic

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Rabbitfish
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For the cartilaginous fish also known rabbitfish, see Chimaera.

Rabbitfishes or spinefoots are perciform fishes in the family Siganidae. The 29 species are in a single genus, Siganus.[1] In some now obsolete classifications, the species having prominent face stripes—colloquially called foxfaces–are in the genus Lo. Other species, such as the masked spinefoot (S. puellus), show a reduced form of the stripe pattern. Rabbitfishes are native to shallow waters in the Indo-Pacific,[1] but S. luridus and S. rivulatus have become established in the eastern Mediterranean via Lessepsian migration.[2] They are commercially important food fish,[3] and can be used in the preparation of dishes such as bagoong.

Description and ecology

All rabbitfish have large, dark eyes and small, somewhat rabbit-like mouths, which gives them their name. Most species have either bright colors or a complex pattern. The largest rabbitfish grows to about 53 cm (21 in), but most species only reach between 25 and 35 cm (10 and 14 in).[1]

Another unusual feature among rabbitfishes is their pelvic fins, which are formed from two spines, with three soft rays between them. The dorsal fin bears 13 spines with 10 rays behind, while the anal fin has seven spines and nine rays behind; the fin spines are equipped with well-developed venom glands. The sting is very painful, but it is generally not considered medically significant in healthy adults.[3][4]

All rabbitfish are diurnal; some live in schools, while others live more solitary lives among the corals. Rabbitfish sleep in crevices in the reef matrix at night. While sleeping, the rabbitfish Siganus canaliculatus was observed being cleaned by the cleaner shrimp Urocaridella antonbruunii.[5] They are herbivorous, feeding on benthic algae in the wild. However, Siganus rivulatus was recently observed feeding on jellyfish (Scyphozoa) and comb jellies (Ctenophora) in the Red Sea.[6] Also Siganus fuscescens have been observed eating prawns and other baits, suggesting that some species are opportunistic omnivorous feeders. The live passage of benthic organisms in the guts of invasive rabbitfish (ichthyochory) was shown to play a major role in the long distance dispersal and bioinvasion of foraminifera. [7] Rabbitfish are pelagic spawners. Many are fished for food, and the more colorful species—especially the foxfish—are often kept in aquaria.[3] In aquaria, they eat a variety of fresh vegetables and algae.

Taxonomy

 src=
S. puellus (Masked spinefoots) with their foxface-like pattern

In 2007 Kurriwa et al., outlined a way to split the genus—if the scientific community so desires:[8]

  • An ancient group containing e.g. S. woodlandi
  • Another fairly small group containing, e.g., the S. canaliculatus/S. fuscescens) complex
  • The remainder of Siganus, including the foxfaces

Other lineages might exist and make obsolete the somewhat weak distinction between the second and third groups. Also, it is not known where the type species S. rivulatus would fall, hence names for these three subgenera or genera are not established at present.

Hybridizaton has played a role in the evolution of the Siganidae, as evidenced by comparison of mtDNA cytochrome b and nDNA internal transcribed spacer 1 sequence data. Evidence exists of interbreeding between S. guttatus and S. lineatus, as well as between S. doliatus and S. virgatus.[8]

Also, either females of the last common ancestor of S. puellus and the S. punctatus interbred with females ancestral to the main non-foxface lineage, or males of the former hybridized with females of the last common ancestor of S. punctatissimus and the foxfaces, while males of the latter mated with females of the original foxface species.[8]

An individual was found that looked like a slightly aberrant blue-spotted spinefoot (S. corallinus). On investigation, it turned out to be an offspring of a hybrid between a female of that species and a male masked spinefoot, which had successfully backcrossed with the blue-spotted spinefoot.[8]

Species

As noted above, several presumed species are suspected to actively interbreed even today; these might warrant merging as a single species. This applies to the white-spotted spinefoot (S. canaliculatus) and the mottled spinefoot (S. fuscescens), and to the blotched foxface (S. unimaculatus) and the foxface rabbitfish (S. vulpinus). Alternatively they might be very recently evolved species that have not yet undergone complete lineage sorting, but their biogeography suggests that each group is just color morphs of a single species. On the other hand, the morphologyically diverse blue-spotted spinefoot (S. corallinus) might represent more than one species; orange individuals are found at the north of its range, while yellow ones occur to the south, and these two may be completely parapatric.[8]

 src=
S. corellinus (Blue-spotted spinefoot)
 src=
S. javus (Streaked spinefoot), a relative of the foxfaces
 src=
S. fuscescens (Mottled spinefoot), Australia
 src=
A school of S. spinus (Little spinefoots), relatives of the Mottled spinefoot

There are currently 29 recognized species in this genus:

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b c Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2018). Species of Siganus in FishBase. August 2018 version.
  2. ^ Debelius, H. (1997). Mediterranean and Atlantic Fish Guide. .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"""""'"'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}ISBN 978-3925919541
  3. ^ a b c Lieske, E., and Myers, R. (1999). Coral Reef Fishes. 2nd edition. Princeton University Press. Pp. 129–130. ISBN 0-691-00481-1
  4. ^ Taylor (2000)
  5. ^ A.R. Bos & C.J.H.M. Fransen (2018). "Nocturnal cleaning of sleeping rabbitfish, Siganus canaliculatus, by the cleaner shrimp Urocaridella antonbruunii (Decapoda: Palaemonidae)". Crustaceana. 91 (2): 239–241.
  6. ^ Bos A.R., Cruz-Rivera E. and Sanad A.M. (2016). "Herbivorous fishes Siganus rivulatus (Siganidae) and Zebrasoma desjardinii (Acanthuridae) feed on Ctenophora and Scyphozoa in the Red Sea". Marine Biodiveristy. 47 (1): 243–246. doi:10.1007/s12526-016-0454-9.
  7. ^ Guy-Haim, Tamar; Hyams-Kaphzan, Orit; Yeruham, Erez; Almogi-Labin, Ahuva; Carlton, James T. (2017-06-01). "A novel marine bioinvasion vector: Ichthyochory, live passage through fish". Limnology and Oceanography Letters. 2 (3): 81–90. doi:10.1002/lol2.10039. ISSN 2378-2242.
  8. ^ a b c d e Kuriiwa et al. (2007)
  9. ^ Woodland, D.J. & Anderson, R.C. (2014): Description of a new species of rabbitfish (Perciformes: Siganidae) from southern India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Zootaxa, 3811 (1): 129–136.

References

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Rabbitfish: Brief Summary
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For the cartilaginous fish also known rabbitfish, see Chimaera.

Rabbitfishes or spinefoots are perciform fishes in the family Siganidae. The 29 species are in a single genus, Siganus. In some now obsolete classifications, the species having prominent face stripes—colloquially called foxfaces–are in the genus Lo. Other species, such as the masked spinefoot (S. puellus), show a reduced form of the stripe pattern. Rabbitfishes are native to shallow waters in the Indo-Pacific, but S. luridus and S. rivulatus have become established in the eastern Mediterranean via Lessepsian migration. They are commercially important food fish, and can be used in the preparation of dishes such as bagoong.

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866db9db47f20b0875f8f9ec83cd6547
Description
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Indo-Pacific and eastern Mediterranean. Each pelvic fin with 3 soft rays between an inner and an outer spine. Dorsal fin with 13 strong spines; soft rays 10. Anal fin spines 7; soft rays 9. Poisonous spines. About 40 cm maximum length. Some species in schools; others among corals.
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MASDEA (1997).
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