A survey of cardinalfish (Apogonidae) of Antsiranana Bay, northern Madagascar


  • Josephine Pegg
  • Mark Steer
  • Elise M. S. Belle


Cardinalfish, Diego-Suarez, Madagascar, ocean, coral, reef, barrière de corail, océan indien, baie d’Antsiranana, Apogonidae,


The cardinalfish of Antsiranana Bay, northern Madagascar, were surveyed over an 11 month period by underwater census employing a simple search pattern using self-contained underwater breathing apparatus. Over this period 15 species were observed including one species not previously recorded in Madagascar, Siphamia versicolor. Whilst some species were ubiquitous across sites within the bay others appeared only as single records. Cardinalfish communities were compared between sites within the bay using PRIMER 6 (Plymouth Routines In Multivariate Ecological Research) and on a national scale against existing records. Overall the species richness of cardinalfish in Antsiranana Bay is less than that observed in other regions of Madagascar. The reasons behind these regional variations include oceanic currents, temperature, depth, disturbance and sedimentation, a recognised threat to Madagascar’s marine communities. This final point was reaffirmed by comparison of cardinalfish communities between sites within the bay which revealed little variation in species composition between sites, with the exception of highly-sedimented sites in the north-east of the bay that had a significantly different cardinalfish fauna to the rest. As a family that relies on the complexity of the coral reef for shelter, and exhibit high site fidelity, examination of cardinalfish communities may provide a measure of the health of a region’s reef.


L’inventaire des poissons de la famille des Apogonidae de la baie d’Antsiranana, dans le Nord de Madagascar a été réalisé au cours d’une période de 11 mois sous forme d’un recensement sous-marin utilisant un modèle de recherche simple en plongée en scaphandre autonome. Au cours de cette période, 15 espèces ont été observées, dont une espèce qui n’était pas encore connue de Madagascar, Siphamia versicolor. Alors que certaines espèces étaient omniprésentes dans tous les sites de la baie, d’autres n’ont été relevées qu’une seule fois. Les communautés d’Apogonidae ont été comparées entre les sites de la baie à l’aide de PRIMER 6 (Plymouth Routines in Multivariate Ecological Research) et avec d’autres données existantes à l’échelle nationale. Dans l’ensemble, la richesse en espèces d’Apogonidae dans la baie d’Antsiranana est inférieure à celle observée dans d’autres régions de Madagascar. Les raisons de ces variations régionales peuvent être expliquées par les différences relevées sur les courants océaniques, la température, la profondeur, les perturbations et la sédimentation, cette dernière étant une menace reconnue pour les communautés marines de Madagascar. La sédimentation est ressortie dans la comparaison des communautés d’Apogonidae entre les sites de la baie qui a révélé peu de variation dans la composition des espèces entre les sites, si ce n’est que les sites présentant une sédimentation importante dans le Nord-est de la baie abritaient une faune différente des autres sites. Les Apogonidae ont besoin de trouver refuge dans la barrière de corail pour s’abriter et montrent ainsi une fidélité élevée aux sites ; l’étude des communautés d’Apogonidae peut ainsi constituer une mesure de l’état des récifs d’une région donnée.


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