[Coral-List] What eats Diadema?

Szmant, Alina szmanta at uncw.edu
Wed Feb 3 07:57:59 EST 2010

Hi John:

I'd like to add to your list crabs which eat Diadema by chopping down their spines with their pincers as they move in for the kill, and all the small wrasses that attack small Diadema.  Back in the old days when you couldn't turn over a piece of rubble without uncovering dozens of small Diadema, the juvenile wrasses and parrots (under 15 cm) would follow you around and pick them to pieces.  Back in early 2000s, Margaret Miller and I tried outplanting of juvenile hatchery raised Diadema in the 1-2 cm diameter and in one case, most of them were eaten within 30 minutes even though we tucked them into crevices.  There's a reason they have all those big spines.  They have "food" written on a big sign on their foreheads.


Dr. Alina M. Szmant
Professor of Marine Biology
Coral Reef Research Program, Center for Marine Science
University of North Carolina Wilmington
5600 Marvin K. Moss Lane
Wilmington NC 28409
Tel:  (910)962-2362; fax: (910)962-2410;  cell:  (910)200-3913
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml..noaa.gov] On Behalf Of John Bruno [jbruno at unc.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, February 02, 2010 8:04 PM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] What eats Diadema?

Thanks to everyone who sent or posted their observations, videos, references, etc of other Diadema predators.  A combined list from this input, in no particular order, of known predators of Diadema includes: snapper, jacks, porcupinefishes, trunkfishes, grunts including black margate and white grunt, porgies, triggerfishes, pufferfish, large wrasses, parrotfish, octopuses, lobsters, several large gastropods, e.g., Triton’s trumpet snails and helmet shells (Cassis), small crabs (which eat juvenile Diadema), permit, saucereye porgy, southern stingray, hogfish, sea stars, e.g., Culcita and Oreaster, and zebra Moray.

I archived most of the comments and posted a link to Bryce Groark's killer video of a zebra moray attacking a Diadema here:   http://www.climateshifts..org/?p=4302

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