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Reply: “Interspecific communicative and coordinated hunting between groupers and giant moray eels in the Red Sea”

Posted by PLOSBiology on 07 May 2009 at 22:14 GMT

Author: Jameal Samhouri
Position: Graduate Student
Institution: UCLA
Additional Authors: J. Wilson White, Christopher D. Stallings
Submitted Date: December 08, 2006
Published Date: December 10, 2006
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

Reply: “Interspecific communicative and coordinated hunting between groupers and giant moray eels in the Red Sea”

J. Wilson White1
Jameal F. Samhouri2
Christopher D. Stallings3

1University of California, Santa Barbara
2University of California, Los Angeles
3Oregon State University

Bshary et al. [1] have done an excellent job of describing several important aspects of a cooperative, interspecific feeding interaction between two coral reef fishes. They correctly note that interspecific feeding associations are well known on coral reefs [2] but distinguish commensal behaviors such as nuclear hunting [3] from mutualistic, cooperative hunting with role differentiation, as in the grouper-moray interaction they describe. However, Bshary et al [1] imply precedence in reporting coordinated and communicative hunting in these taxa. Identical instances of grouper-moray cooperative hunting (with role differentiation) have been described by multiple authors [3-6], including documentation and interpretation of the pre-hunting behavioral negotiations [7]. While the quantitative data and conclusions presented by Bshary et al. [1] advance our understanding of cooperative behavior, their description of interspecific coordination in fishes is not as novel as they claim.

Literature Cited

1. Bshary R, Hohner A, Ait-el-Djoudi K, Fricke H (2006) Interspecific communicative and coordinated hunting between groupers and giant moray eels in the Red Sea. PLoS Biology 4: e431.

2. Lukoschek V, McCormick MIA (2002) A review of multi-species foraging
association in fishes and their ecological significance. In: MK Kasim
Moosa, S Soemodihardjo, A Nontji, et al., editors. Proceedings of the Ninth International Coral Reef Symposium. Bali, Indonesia, October 23– 27, 2000. Published by the Ministry of Environment, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences and the International Society for Reef Studies. pp. 467-474.

3. Diamant A, Shpigel M (1985) Interspecific feeding associations of groupers (Teleostei: Serranidae) with octopuses and moray eels in the Gulf of Eilat (Aqaba). Env Biol Fish 13: 153-159.

4. Karplus I (1978) A feeding association between the grouper Epinephelus fasciatus and the moray eel Gymnothorax griseus. Copeia 1978: 164.

5. Dubin RE (1982) Behavioral interactions between Caribbean reef fish and eels (Muraenidae and Ophichthidae). Copeia 1982: 229-232.

6. Strand S (1988) Following behavior: interspecific foraging associations among Gulf of California reef fishes. Copeia 1988: 351-357.

7. DeLoach N (1999) Reef fish behavior: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas. Jacksonville, FL: New World Publications, Inc. 359 p.

No competing interests declared.