The longnose filefish, Oxymonacanthus longirostris, usually lives in hetero-sexual pairs, the male and female swimming together and sharing the same territory. Pair territoriality in the species was examined in detail in relation to sexual differences in territorial defense activities. Rigorous pair territoriality was maintained only during the breeding season, although pairs used their home ranges exclusively to a certain extent, during the non-breeding season. The frequency of aggression against other conspecific pairs in the breeding season was higher than in the non-breeding season. Agonistic interactions appear to be over both mates and food resources, the strict pair territoriality in the breeding season possibly being due to mutual mate guarding. In intraspecific aggressive interactions, males usually led their partner females when attacking intruders. The feeding frequency of males was much lower than that of females in the breeding season. Mate removal experiments indicated that females could not defend their original territories solitarily and their feeding frequency decreased. Conversely, males could defend territories solitarily without a decrease in feeding frequency. These results suggest that males contribute most to the defense of the pair territory, with females benefiting from territorial pair-swimming with their partner males.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics