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Data from: Body shape and mode of propulsion do not constrain routine swimming in coral reef fishes

Citation

Satterfield, Darien; Claverie, Thomas; Wainwright, Peter (2022), Data from: Body shape and mode of propulsion do not constrain routine swimming in coral reef fishes, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.25338/B8R056

Abstract

It is widely believed that because of biomechanical trade-offs, fish body shape and the mode of propulsion are strong predictors of swimming performance, with the best cruisers, maneuverers, and accelerators having different body forms and emphasizing different propulsion mechanisms. This paradigm is regularly projected onto routine swimming behavior and dominates the ecomorphological literature, despite the paucity of field measurements. In this study, we measured variation in swimming behavior among 48 species of Indian Ocean coral reef fishes using recordings from a remote stereo video system. We measured average swimming speed, average swimming bout distance, frequency of turns, and percent of time spent station-holding and looked for the predicted trade-offs between them. We find little evidence of the expected relationships between swimming behaviors across species, little evidence that body shape affects swimming, and few differences between species that swim by undulating the body and those that emphasize the use of median and paired fins. Taxa widely thought of as archetypical maneuverers (Chaetodon) and cruisers (Caranx) were not outliers in any behaviors. Our results indicate that swimming behavior is not easily predicted from simple measures of body shape and that alternative swimming modes can produce comparable behavioral profiles.

Funding

Centre Universitaire de Formation et de Recherche de Mayotte

Agence Nationale de la Recherche, Award: ANR-16-IDEX-0006