Ultraviolet photosensitivity and feeding in larval and juvenile coral reef fishes

S. Job, and D.R. Bellwood, Marine Biology, Volume 151, Number 2
The ability of young coral reef fishes to feed using solely ultraviolet-A (UV-A) radiation during ontogeny was examined using natural prey in experimental tanks. Larvae and juveniles of three coral reef fish species (Pomacentrus amboinensis, Premnas biaculeatus and Apogon compressus) ...
are able to feed successfully using UV-A radiation alone during the later half of the pelagic larval phase. The minimum UV radiation intensities required for larval feeding occur in the field down to depths of 90–130 m in oceanic waters and 15–20 m in turbid inshore waters. There was no abrupt change in UV sensitivity after settlement, indicating that UV photosensitivity may continue to play a significant role in benthic juveniles on coral reefs. Tests of UV sensitivity in the field using light traps indicate that larval and juvenile stages of 16 coral reef fish families are able to detect and respond photopositively to UV wavelengths. These include representatives from families that are unlikely to possess UV sensitivity as adults due to the UV transmission characteristics of the ocular media. Functional UV sensitivity may be more widespread in young coral reef fishes than in the adults, and may play a significant role in detecting zooplanktonic prey.