Open Access

Coral reef fishes which forage in the water column

A review of their morphology, behavior, ecology and evolutionary implications
  • W. P. Davis1 and
  • R. S. Birdsong2
Helgoländer wissenschaftliche Meeresuntersuchungen24:BF01609520


1. Radiation of fishes representing many families in the tropical coral reef has repeatedly produced convergence in the specialization for “water-column foragers”.

2. This life mode is depicted by a recognizable set of morphological and behavioral characteristics. Exploitation of this niche has parallel examples in fresh water, and non-tropical habitats.

3. The distinguishing traits of this specialization, and the systematic, ecological and evolutionary features are described and discussed.