Balamurgan J.1, Ajith Kumar T.T.1, Ghosh Swagat2. 2014. Expansion behavior, growth and survival of the sea anemone Stichodactyla haddoni (Saville-Kent, 1893) with anemonefishes in captivity // Invertebrate Zoology. Vol.11. No.2: 315–324 [in English].

1 Centre of Advanced Study in Marine Biology, Faculty of Marine Sciences, Annamalai University, Parangipettai-608502, Tamil Nadu, India, e-mail: rjbala.mbt@gmail.com

2 Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology, Kochi, Kerala, India.

ABSTRACT: The sea anemone Stichodactyla haddoni’s growth, expansion and survival under captivity at different conditions were studied for a period of 168 days. Each experiment with the same animals was continued after a resting period of 8 weeks in between. The trials were conducted under standardized conditions of water quality and photoperiods. The anemones were kept in two different groups, one with anemonefishes and the other without fishes. The expansion and growth rate in these two groups were assessed at weekly intervals. It was seen that in comparison with anemones made to live in solitude, those allowed to cohabitate with anemonefishes showed higher rate of oral disc expansion (p<0.01) and a significant variance in the growth rates and it depends on the species of fish cohabitating with the anemone (p<0.05). Exponential growth rates was shown by anemones cohabitating with native species (fish live with a specific anemone in nature) and this was reversed in anemones lives with non-native species. The growth rates of anemones lives with the presence of anemonefish were 10–15% higher than the anemones lives in solitude. During forced starvation, the survival rate of the anemones living with fish was 80% and the same was 60% in the anemones survived without fish. Chi-Square test confirms the presence of significant association linking the behavior of anemones and anemonefishes in their natural habitats (c2 = 25.019, df (7), p<0.01). Results of this experiment reveal that S. haddoni shows enhanced expansion, growth and survival in the presence of anemonefishes.

KEY WORDS: Stichodactyla haddoni, anemonefish, growth, survival, captivity.

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