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Cephalopholis cruentata

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII PERCIFORMES EPINEPHELIDAE

Scientific Name: Cephalopholis cruentata
Species Authority: (Lacepède, 1802)
Common Name(s):
English Graysby, Coney Barbados, Deady Jamaica
Spanish Arigua, Cabrilla, Cherna Enjambre, Cuna Cabrilla, Enjambre Cuba
French Coné Essaim
Synonym(s):
Bodianus stellatus Blosser, 1909
Cephalopholis cruentata (Lacepède, 1802)
Cephalopholis cruentatus (Lacepede, 1802)
Epinephelus cruentatus (Lacepede, 1802)
Petrometopon cruentatum (Lacepede, 1802)
Petrometopon cruentatus (Lacepede, 1802)
Serranus apiarius Poey, 1860
Serranus coronatus Valenciennes, 1828
Serranus nigriculus Valenciennes, 1828
Sparus cruentatus Lacepede, 1802

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Rocha, L., Ferreira, B., Choat, J.H., Craig, M.T., Sadovy, Y. & Bertoncini, A.A.
Reviewer(s): Sadovy, Y. & Moss, K. (Grouper and Wrasse Red List Authority)
Justification:
Cephalopholis cruentata is listed as Least Concern because it is currently a widespread and common species that is presently withstanding significant fishing pressure. In the future, increasing fishing pressure and habitat loss may lead to significant decline and future assessments are warranted as more information becomes available.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Cephalopholis cruentata is found in the North Atlantic and within the Caribbean (Greater Antilles and Lesser Antilles), Trinidad, Gulf of Mexico, USA (North Carolina to southern Florida), Bahamas and Bermuda. There are unsubstantiated records from Brazil, but no specimens or photographs from there.
Countries:
Native:
Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Aruba; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Bermuda; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Saba, Sint Eustatius); Cayman Islands; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Curaçao; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guatemala; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Mexico; Montserrat; Nicaragua; Panama; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (French part); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Trinidad and Tobago; Turks and Caicos Islands; United States; United States Minor Outlying Islands; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Fisheries-dependent data
Abundance data from Curacoa (Nagelkerken et al. 2005) shows that Cephalopholis cruentata was moderately abundant on reef slopes with peak abundances ranging from 10.5 to 11.7 per 1,000 m² during two widely separated sampling periods 1973 and 2003. The authors detected no major time-associated trends in abundance over the three-decade time period despite a 58% reduction in hard coral cover and continuous fishing activity. However, the depth distributions at which peak abundances occurred shifted downwards from 9 m in 1973 to 20 to 27 m in 2003.

Fisheries-independent data
Follow the link below for Table 1: results of comparisons of demography and size structure of five Caribbean populations of graysby (K. Ranatunga, PhD data) subject to heavy (Barbados, Belize), moderate (Curacao), light (Las Aves), and full protection (Los Roques) lying within the same latitudinal stratum.

The most consistent feature is the association of reduced maximum age and size and higher mortality rates with increased fishing. Although this species is not a major commercial target, artisanal trap and line fishing at a number of sites appear to be impacting on fished populations.

A comprehensive size-based earlier study on tropical Atlantic serranids (Thompson and Munro 1983) demonstrated the that graysby was a relatively minor element of the serranid catch in the intensively fished areas around Jamaica in the 1970s. The data on sex and size distributions suggested protogyny with a sex ratio strongly biased toward females (1:6) which the authors suggest reflects intensive fishing on larger individuals in the Port Royal area. Modal sizes for catches in the vicinity of Jamaica were 20 to 24 cm FL. This was low compared to recent samples (Ranatrunga 2006). However, the main findings of Thompson and Munro (1983) were that samples of this species were very small compared to most of the other exploited serranids in the locality suggesting that this species is relatively rare and has never been a targeted species in the serranid commercial fisheries of the Caribbean.
For further information about this species, see 132761_Cephalopholis_cruentata.pdf.
A PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader is required.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: General
Cephalopholis cruentata is found in Thalassia beds and on coral reefs from shore to depths of 170 m. In the eastern Gulf of Mexico, it occurs on the rocky reef ledge in depths greater than 27 m. It is strongly associated with its habitat and is susceptible to habitat degradation. Graysby are small, secretive fish that usually stay near hiding places in the reef during the day.

Age, growth and reproduction
Nagelkerken (1979) found that at the end of their first year; graysby were 8 cm long (standard length) and had formed seven growth rings in their otoliths. Females mature at 16 cm (total length) and most change sex between 20 and 23 cm (ages four and five), with sexual transition occurring immediately after spawning in August and September.

The observations on protogyny by Nagelkerken (1979) and Potts and Manooch (1999) confirm the suggestions of (Thompson and Munro 1983) but a more detailed histological analysis is required to confirm sexual pattern. Thompson and Munro (1978) estimated the number of eggs per spawning at 262 to 604 for a fish of 29 cm total length. Hawkins et al. (in press) estimated size at first female maturity for the St Lucia population at 16 cm FL with 100% maturity at 26 cm FL with only 12% of the trapped sample being immature females.

Feeding
They are crepuscular predators, and adults feed mainly on fishes, with a preference for Chromis multilineata where this species is abundant (Heemstra and Randall 1993).

Home range and movement
Tagging with acoustic transmitters in St. Lucia (Popple and Hunte 2005) showed that this species had a mean home range of 2,120 m² and showed a clear preference for areas with high levels of reef complexity.
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): General
The major threats to graybsy appear to be overfishing and habitat loss and degradation.

Overfishing
Although graysby are heavily fished over much of its range at present, this appears to be having little impact on the population. However, if this threat increases, it will presumably have a significant effect in the future.

This species is the subject of a minor fishery in Florida waters with a high proportion of catches being released (Harper et al. 2000). Thompson and Munro (1983) have provided catch statistics of this and a number of other Caribbean groupers.

In Curacao, this is a commercially important species that constitutes 11% of the reef fish catch (Nagelkerken et al. 2005). Gobert et al. (2005) show that while C. cruentata had a long history in the Honduran line, trap and spear fishery, it made up only a small proportion of the total reef fish catch in 1999 which confirms that it is not a highly targeted fishery species in most localities.

The recent evidence suggests some impacts of artisinal fisheries in Barbados and Belize although the impacts of these fisheries need to be evaluated through abundance estimates, as was done for the Curacao population (Nagelkerken et al. 2005).

Fishery records (Thompson and Munro 1983, Harper et al. 2000) suggest low catch rates reflect small size and relatively low abundance. However Potts and Manooch (1999) point to increasing catch rates, Harper et al. (2000) confirm that although this species is taken in the Florida recreational fishery the numbers are small with a high proportion of releases.

The most definitive fishery data is provided by Nagelkerken et al. (2005). Despite that this species was the target of a commercial fishery in Curacao and constituted 11% of the reef fish catch there were no significant changes in abundance over a 30 yr period although the population shifted to deeper habitats.

Hawkins et al. (in press) have shown that while C. cruentata represents about 2 to 3% of the reef fish population in St. Lucia (light fishing) and Jamaica (heavily fished) they were not considered to be highly “trappable” at either locality when compared to taxa such as haemulids and lutjanids.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are a few protected areas in the graysby's range. The establishment of MPAs in areas of complex reef habitat and that reduce fishing pressure on this and other small serranids are recommended.

Citation: Rocha, L., Ferreira, B., Choat, J.H., Craig, M.T., Sadovy, Y. & Bertoncini, A.A. 2008. Cephalopholis cruentata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 26 November 2014.
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