Study: Butterflyfish may face extinction

Feb 26, 2008

An Australian-U.S. study suggests the black, white and yellow butterflyfish admired by eco-tourists and aquarium keepers might be at risk of extinction.

Morgan Pratchett of James Cook University said the case of the Chevroned Butterflyfish is a stark example of how human pressure on the world's coral reefs is confronting certain species with "blind alleys" from which they may be unable to escape.

Pratchett, affiliated with the Australian Research Council's Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, along with Michael Berumen of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the United States warn that the highly specialized nature of the feeding habits of the butterflyfish make it an extinction risk as the world's coral reefs continue to degrade due to human over-exploitation, pollution and climate change.

Pratchett and Berumen said theirs is one of the few studies so far to consider the evolutionary and ecological basis of dietary versatility, and has implications for the fate of specialized feeders throughout the animal kingdom.

The study is reported in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: Genetic basis of color diversity in coral reefs discovered

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Butterfly fish 'may face extinction'

Feb 25, 2008

A beautiful black, white and yellow butterflyfish, much admired by eco-tourists, divers and aquarium keepers alike, may be at risk of extinction, scientists have warned.

Can Nemo Find His Way Home?

May 03, 2007

The fate of ocean fish larvae has remained a mystery to science until now, but a University of Arkansas researcher and his colleagues have used a novel technique to directly explore their journey from egg ...

Recommended for you

A rare glimpse at the elusive saharan cheetah

10 hours ago

Research by scientists and conservationists from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Zoological Society of London, and other groups published today in PLOS ONE shows that critically endangered Saharan cheeta ...

In a role reversal, RNAs proofread themselves

10 hours ago

Building a protein is a lot like a game of telephone: information is passed along from one messenger to another, creating the potential for errors every step of the way. There are separate, specialized enzymatic ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.