[en] Damselfishes show significant biodiversity in the coral reefs. To better understand such diversity, an ecomorphological approach was investigated in the trophic morphology of eight species of Pomacentridae (Chromis acares, C. margaritifer, Dascyllus aruanus, D. flavicaudus, Pomacentrus pavo, Plectroglyphidodon johnstonianus, Pl. lacrymatus and Stegastes nigricans) belonging to different trophic guilds (zooplankton, algal, coral polyp feeders and omnivores). Geometric morphometrics were used to quantify size and shape variations in four skeletal units: (1) neurocranium, (2) suspensorium and opercle, (3) mandible and (4) premaxilla. This method allowed us to reveal shape and size differences correlated to functional diversity both within and between trophic guilds. Among zooplanktivores, C. margaritifer, D. aruanus and D. flavicaudus have a high and long supraoccipital crest, short mandibles forming a small mouth and high suspensoria and opercles. These three species can be considered to be suction feeders. In the same guild, C. acares shows opposite characteristics (long and thin mandibles, lengthened neurocranium and suspensorium) and can be considered as a ram feeder. Among herbivores and corallivores, the two species of Plectroglyphidodon and S. nigricans can be considered as grazers. Differences in skeletal shape are mainly related to improving the robustness of some skeletal parts (broad hyomandibular, short and high mandibles). The shapes of P. pavo, which feeds largely on algae, strongly differ from that of the other three grazers exhibiting similar morphological characteristics to C. acares (e.g., long and shallow suspensorium, lengthened neurocranium). This highlights likely differences concerning cutting or scraping method. Finally, no strong correlations exist between size and shapes in the eight studied species. Size difference among species having a very similar shape could be viewed as a factor optimizing resource partitioning.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS