Homing and daytime tidal movements of juvenile snappers (Lutjanidae) between shallow-water nursery habitats in Zanzibar, western Indian Ocean

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We studied daily tidal movements of tagged juvenile Lutjanus fulviflamma and Lutjanus ehrenbergii between two adjacent habitats, a subtidal channel and shallow tidal notches in the fossil reef terrace, in a shallow marine bay on Zanzibar Island (Tanzania). Due to a large tidal range, the notches were dry at low-tide and were only accessible to the snappers at high-tide. Of the resighted individuals, 48% showed clear movement between the two habitats, orientated in a direction perpendicular to the tidal currents. Individuals resighted more than once showed site fidelity, indicating homing in both the channel and the notches. We suggest that a significant part of this population of juvenile snappers may move from a low-tide resting habitat to a high-tide resting habitat during the daytime, perhaps to avoid predation by larger predators that may enter the channel at high-tide.

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