165724-26

Chaetodon melapterus 

Scope: Persian Gulf
Language: English
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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Chaetodontidae

Scientific Name: Chaetodon melapterus Guichenot, 1863
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Arabian Butterflyfish, Blackfin Butterflyfish, Black-finned Melon Butterflyfish
Synonym(s):
Chaetodon melanopterus Playfair, 1867
Chaetodon trifasciatus ssp. arabica Steindachner, 1899
Choetodon melapterus Guichenot, 1863
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N. and Fricke, R. (eds). 2015. Catalog of Fishes: genera, species, references. Updated 1 October 2015. Available at: http://researcharchive.calacademy.org/research/ichthyology/catalog/fishcatmain.asp. (Accessed: 1 October 2015).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B2ab(i,ii,iii) (Regional assessment) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2014-02-26
Assessor(s): Feary, D., Matsuura, K. & Motomura, H.
Reviewer(s): Buchanan, J. & Ralph, G.
Contributor(s): Burt, J., Grandcourt, E. & Krupp, F.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ralph, G. & Buchanan, J.
Justification:

Chaetodon melapterus is an obligate corallivore, feeding exclusively on the live tissues of corals. The species has been recorded throughout much of the Persian Gulf on nearshore and offshore coral assemblages. Its area of occupancy (AOO) in the Persian Gulf is estimated to be 700 km².

In the Persian Gulf, coral assemblage habitat is naturally and severely fragmented with virtually no contiguous coral assemblages remaining. The estimated total AOO for coral assemblages in the Persian Gulf is 700 km², but is likely to be much less because of continued coral assemblage loss and degradation due to recurring bleaching events, coastal development, and other pressures. This is particularly true for the southern Persian Gulf, where coastal development is prevalent. In 2002, it was estimated that 40% of the Persian Gulf coasts had already been developed. However, in parts of the northern Persian Gulf, where coastal development is less significant, this species remains to be common. As a result of increasing sea surface temperatures, coral bleaching events have also increased in frequency over the past few decades, degrading coral assemblages in the Persian Gulf, especially those found nearshore in the southern Persian Gulf.

Chaetodon melapterus is not utilized and there are no known species-specific conservation measures in place for this fish. However, there are several marine protected areas within its distribution, including the Jubail Marine Wildlife Sanctuary, where C. melapterus has been recorded.

Oceanographic data suggests that a rescue effect through the Strait of Hormuz is negligible. Given this species' dependency on live coral, its small AOO, its severely fragmented population, and the continuing decline in its habitat quality, C. melapterus is listed as Vulnerable under criterion B (VU B2ab(i,ii,iii)). We recommend monitoring this species’ population and habitat trends.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Chaetodon melapterus occurs throughout the Persian Gulf, with records from Iran (Shokri et al. 2005), Kuwait (Kuronuma and Abe 1972, Downing 1989c, Carpenter et al. 1997), Saudi Arabia (McCain et al. 1984, Coles and Tarr 1990), Bahrain (Allen 1980, Al-Baharna and Randall 1986, Smith and Saleh 1987), Qatar (Allen 1980: near Doha, Al-Sedfy et al. 1982, Sivasubramaniam and Ibrahim 1982), and the United Arab Emirates (Allen 1980, J. Burt pers. comm. 2014, E. Grandcourt pers. comm. 2014).
Countries occurrence:
Native:
Bahrain; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Kuwait; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; United Arab Emirates
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Indian Ocean – western
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:700Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:287900
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Lower depth limit (metres):16
Upper depth limit (metres):3
Range Map:165724-26

Population [top]

Population:Chaetodon melapterus was well documented throughout the Persian Gulf until 1997 (F. Krupp pers. comm. 2015). In 1998, C. melapterus began declining in nearshore areas, including nearshore islands, in the southern Persian Gulf, though not severely. However, at the offshore islands of Saudi Arabia, C. melapterus continued to remain common with populations largely unchanged. In the past, mature individuals were extremely rare in the northern Persian Gulf, but common on nearshore coral assemblages in the southern Persian Gulf, however, in the more recent decades, mature individuals have become increasingly common in the north.

Chaetodon melapterus is common on coral assemblages of Kuwait, in particular, Qaro Island (Carpenter et al. 1997). The species has been observed off Bahrain and near Doha, Qatar; however few observed due to degraded coral assemblages (Allen 1980). Between 1985-1987, Coles and Tarr (1990) conducted underwater visual surveys on nearshore and offshore coral assemblages in Saudi Arabia, in which the mean abundance of C. melapterus varied from 2 to 9 individuals/100 m². Between 1992-1995, Krupp and Almarri (1996) conducted underwater visual surveys on nearshore and offshore coral assemblages within the Jubail Marine Wildlife Sanctuary, in which the mean abundance of C. melapterus at Karan Island varied from 2.5 to 7.2 individuals/100 m². In 2001, the mean abundance of C. melapterus was 1 individual/400 m² (± 1 S.E.) off Kish Island (Iran), followed by a decline to 0.25 individuals/400 m² (± 0.25 S.E.) in 2002 (Shokri et al. 2005). In November 2008 and January 2012, Pratchett et al. (2013) conducted underwater visual surveys to determine the mean abundance of chaetodontids at five locations, including the southern Persian Gulf (Abu Dhabi), of which C. melapterus was absent during both survey periods. During underwater visual censuses on coral assemblages in the southern Persian Gulf (Al Dhabiya, Ras Ghanadah, Jebel Ali, and Saadiyat Island) conducted in October and December 2008 and January 2012, C. melapterus was not observed (D. Feary pers. comm. 2014). Similarly, during underwater visual censuses on coral assemblages in the southern Persian Gulf (Al Dhabiya, Ras Ghanadah, and Saadiyat Island) conducted from spring 2011 to winter 2013, C. melapterus was not observed (J. Burt pers. comm. 2014).

Oceanographic data suggests that a rescue effect through the Strait of Hormuz is negligible because of the limited entry into the Persian Gulf via the Strait of Hormuz (Coles 2003, Rezai et al. 2004), as well as a counter-current circulation (Chao et al. 1992) which may potentially facilitate the movement of propagules out of the Persian Gulf (Feary et al. 2012), and physical extremes of both salinity and temperature (Sheppard et al. 1992, Riegl 2001, Sheppard and Loughland 2002).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Chaetodon melapterus is a coral-dependent species that is usually found on nearshore and offshore coral assemblages in the Persian Gulf. The species has been observed from 3-16 m in depth (Shokri et al. 2005). Chaetodon melapterus are usually encountered in pairs, but sometimes observed in larger aggregations numbering in excess of 20 individuals. It feeds predominantly on live corals. The maximum recorded total length (TL) is 13 cm (Randall 1995).

This species is an obligate corallivore with 100% of bites observed being on a variety of live corals (Faviidae, Porites, Montipora and Acropora) in the Persian Gulf (Pratchett et al. 2013). Due to its abundance in the Persian Gulf, Porites were the predominate coral in this species diet with 37.7% of bites observed on this genus. Chaetodon melapterus exhibited significant feeding selectivity towards Favia and Favites, and had a disproportionately more than expected selectivity to Acropora based on the availability of this genera.
Systems:Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Chaetodon melapterus is not utilized in the Persian Gulf.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In the Persian Gulf, substantial sea bottom dredging, resulting in changes of water flow and sedimentation rates, for industrial, infrastructure-based, and residential and tourism development along the coast have caused deterioration in most benthic habitats (Sheppard et al. 2010). Coral assemblages in the Persian Gulf, are estimated (likely overestimated) to have a total area of occupancy of 700 km². Al-Ghadban and Price (2002) determined that by the early 1990s, 40% of most of the Persian Gulf states' coasts had been developed in some way. It is not known whether or not C. melapterus is directly affected by coastal development, but due to the large-scale of coastal development throughout the Persian Gulf and given the habitat preferences of the species, it is likely that it is impacted negatively in some parts of the region. As a result of increasing sea surface temperatures, coral bleaching events have also increased in frequency over the past few decades (Burt et al. 2014), degrading coral assemblages in the Persian Gulf, especially those found nearshore in the southern Persian Gulf. This is likely to also have a negative impact on this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

There are no known species-specific conservation measures in place for this fish. However, there are several marine protected areas within its distribution, including the Jubail Marine Wildlife Sanctuary, where C. melapterus has been recorded (Krupp and Müller 1994, Krupp and Almarri 1996). Monitoring of C. melapterus is needed in conjunction with coral monitoring, as well as, determination of the degree of co-dependence between this species and corals.


Citation: Feary, D., Matsuura, K. & Motomura, H. 2015. Chaetodon melapterus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T165724A57087829. . Downloaded on 17 October 2017.
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