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Scatophagus argus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII PERCIFORMES SCATOPHAGIDAE

Scientific Name: Scatophagus argus
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1766)
Common Name(s):
English Spotted Scat, Spotted Butt, Butter Fish, Common Scat, Leopard Scat, Scat, Butterfish, Spotted Butterfish, Spotted Butter Fish, Spotted Scad, Argus Fish
French Pavillon Tacheté
Spanish Pingo Manchado
Synonym(s):
Chaetodon argus Linnaeus, 1766
Chaetodon atromaculatus Bennett, 1830
Chaetodon pairatalis Hamilton, 1822
Ephippus argus (Linnaeus, 1766)
Scatophagus aetatevarians De Vis, 1884
Scatophagus argus argus (Linnaeus, 1766)
Scatophagus argus ocellata Klunzinger, 1880
Scatophagus bougainvillii Cuvier, 1831
Scatophagus maculatus Gronow, 1854
Scatophagus ornatus Cuvier, 1831
Scatophagus purpurascens Cuvier, 1831
Scatophagus quadranus De Vis, 1884

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-02-04
Assessor(s): Collen, B., Richman, N., Beresford, A., Chenery, A. & Ram, M. (Sampled Red List Index Coordinating Team)
Reviewer(s): Carpenter, K.E., Livingstone, S. & Polidoro, B.
Contributor(s): De Silva, R., Milligan, H., Lutz, M., Batchelor, A., Jopling, B., Kemp, K., Lewis, S., Lintott, P., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Smith, J. & Livingston, F.
Justification:
Scatophagus argus has been assessed as Least Concern.  This species has a very large distribution, extending from the Persian Gulf to the east coast of Australia.  Although harvested for food, medicine, and the aquarium trade, it is of little commercial importance.  This species is also able to utilise a number of habitat types that undergo large scale environmental fluctuations, indicating resilience and adaptability.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Scatophagus argus is distributed from the Persian Gulf, past India, and into the western Pacific.  Its distribution extends from Japan in the north, to New South Wales, New Caledonia, and Fiji in the south (Randall 2005).  The FAO (2001) states that the distribution of this species also extends further east in the Pacific, to French Polynesia.  Scatophagus argus has also been recorded from Micronesia.
Countries:
Native:
Australia; Bangladesh; Cambodia; China; Fiji; French Polynesia; Hong Kong; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Japan; Kuwait; Malaysia; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Myanmar; New Caledonia; Oman; Pakistan; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Samoa; Singapore; Sri Lanka; Taiwan, Province of China; Thailand; Tonga; Vanuatu; Viet Nam; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There is no population information available for Scatophagus argus.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The scat, Scatophagus argus, is usually found in estuaries, harbours, mangrove sloughs, and the lower reaches of fresh water streams, especially those with high mineral concentrations.  Tiny juveniles float in the surface film (Kuiter and Debelius 2001).  This species feeds on benthic algae, plant matter, and small benthic invertebrates.  It is a schooling species.  Individuals typically grow to 20–30 cm.  Filipino fishers believe the dorsal, anal, and pelvis spines are venomous and capable of inflicting painful wounds.
Systems: Freshwater; Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Scatophagus argus is harvested as a food source using traps and nets.  However, it is not thought to be of commercial importance due to its small size.  It is also used in Chinese medicine and for the aquarium trade.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Scatophagus argus is harvested as a food source using traps and nets.  However, due to its small size, it is not thought to be of commercial importance.  It is also used in Chinese medicine and for the aquarium trade.  However, due to the low commercial value of this species and its venomous spines, harvesting is not considered a major threat at present.

This species occurs in some estuarine environments that are subject to high levels of contaminants from shipping (oil and fuel leaks, ballast water, anti-fouling paints), coastal development, and pollution from upstream.  However, these are localised threats, and not known throughout its entire range.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures in place for Scatophagus argus.  However, it may occur in a number of marine protected areas.  Further research on the harvest levels and extent of harvest of this species is needed.

Citation: Collen, B., Richman, N., Beresford, A., Chenery, A. & Ram, M. (Sampled Red List Index Coordinating Team) 2010. Scatophagus argus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 28 July 2014.
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