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Why is this damselfish biting this octopus?


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#1 Nick Hope

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 05:05 AM

Is this Dascyllus trimaculatus feeding on this Octopus cyanea, or defending its eggs, or just bullying it, or what? All suggestions welcome!

(from Richelieu Rock, Thailand)


Edited by Nick Hope, 28 April 2012 - 05:05 AM.


#2 Cerianthus

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 06:45 AM

Damsel fish normally defend a patch of algae that they feed on. The octopus is probably righth on top of it.
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#3 JimSwims

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 05:07 PM

Cool footage Nick!

I know the male Damsel fish down here will harass and even nip at divers when you get in
their turf while they are guarding a clutch of eggs on their manicured lawn.

Cheers,
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#4 JimG

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 12:34 AM

Really interesting video Nick. Never seen that before with Damsels except for the related Anemone/Clown Fish species, which will defend their patch against all comers, me included. They seem to be more persistant when they have eggs or tiny young so I assume this damsel was doing the same.

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#5 Nick Hope

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 05:15 AM

Thanks for the replies. Aggressive defence is what I suspected. At the time of shooting, years ago, I thought that the fish was feeding on the octopus. These Dascyllus trimaculatus are probably the most aggressive fish, for their size, in the Andaman Sea. More so than any of the clownfish. I'm really glad they're not titan triggerfish sized! :)