The effects of tissue type and body size on C-13 and N-15 values in parrotfish (Labridae) from Zanzibar, Tanzania

Jeremiah Grahm Plass-Johnson, Christopher D. McQuaid, Jaclyn M. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Differences between the stable isotopic ratios (C-13 and N-15) of two tissues (blood and muscle) from four species of East African coral reef parrotfishes (family: Labridae, tribe: Scarini) were analysed across a broad spectrum of body sizes. Comparison of isotopic ratios between the tissues allowed the assessment of using blood as an alternative tissue to muscle. In 2010-2011, constant differences between tissues ((blood) minus (muscle)) were found across a broad range of sampled fish lengths. Linear relationships between the tissues, specific for an isotope, indicate that constants could be generated for converting blood isotope into muscle isotope values. Only one species, Chlorurus sordidus, displayed an inconsistent difference between tissues in N-15, indicating that this ratio was dependent on fish length. The C-13 of both tissues was positively related linearly to fish length for three species, while N-15 showed no relationship with body length. The results are interpreted as indicating dietary consistency over days to weeks, the time of tissue turnover for blood and muscle, respectively. Lastly, differences among the species, even closely related species, show that the generation of tissue conversion constants is species-specific.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Ichthyology (Online)
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)633-637
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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