In order to understand feeding ecology, habitat use and migration of coral reef fish, fatty acid composition was examined in damselfish species Abudefduf bengalensis and A. sexfasciatus collected in the Malaysian South China Sea. Proportions of saturated fatty acids (SAFA) ranged from 49.5% to 74.2%, with the highest proportions in fatty acids, the second highest was monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) ranged from 21.4% to 47.4% and the proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) was the lowest ranged from 3.1% to 6.0%. Palmitic acid (16:0) was the most common in SAFA, oleic acid (C18:1ω9c) was the dominant in MUFA and linolenic acid (C18:3n3) showed the highest proportion in PUFA. Fatty acid concentrations, especially in SAFA and MUFA, could be related to physiological condition, sexual development, and recent feeding events. The diet shift revealed by the fatty acid composition suggests changes in habitat use and migration scale in coral reef environment of genus Abudefduf.
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