Acanthurus leucocheilus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Acanthuridae

Scientific Name: Acanthurus leucocheilus Herre, 1927
Common Name(s):
English Palelipped Surgeonfish, White-spine Surgeon
Acanthurus leuocheilus Herre, 1927
Acanthurus leuococheilus Herre, 1927

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2010-05-03
Assessor(s): Abesamis, R., Clements, K.D., Choat, J.H., McIlwain, J., Myers, R., Nanola, C., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B. & Stockwell, B.
Reviewer(s): Davidson, L., Edgar, G. & Kulbicki, M.
Acanthurus leucocheilus is widely distributed and found occasionally in most parts of its range. It is not specifically targeted and is found within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). It is therefore listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Acanthurus leucocheilus is widespread in the Indo-Pacific and is found from the Philippines and Indonesia, eastwards to Tuvalu and the Line Islands and westwards to East Africa including Maldives and Seychelles.
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Ashmore-Cartier Is.); British Indian Ocean Territory; Christmas Island; Djibouti; India (Andaman Is., Nicobar Is.); Indonesia; Kenya; Kiribati (Kiribati Line Is.); Maldives; Marshall Islands; Mozambique; Myanmar; Niue; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Seychelles; Somalia; Sri Lanka; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Timor-Leste; Tuvalu; United States Minor Outlying Islands; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – western; Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):30
Upper depth limit (metres):1
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Acanthurus leucocheilus was recorded as occasional in most parts of its range (J.H. Choat pers. comm. 2010). It is moderately common at Raja Ampat, Indonesia (Allen 2003b). It is uncommon in the American Samoa National Park (National Park of Samoa Checklist of Fishes accessed 21 April 2010). Visual census surveys along Aceh coast of Indonesia recorded fish densities of 6 individuals/750 m2 at Pantai sirkui, 9 individuals/750 m2 at Teupin Layeu and 11 individuals/750 m2 at Teluk Pelabuhan (FMIPA 2007).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Acanthurus leucocheilus occurs singly or in small groups, generally in outer reef areas from about 5 to at least 30 m (Randall 2001a). It grazes over sand and feeds on a combination of algae and detritus (Choat 1991, Choat et al. 2002). It is classified as a grazer/detritivore (Green and Bellwood 2009). The sexes are separate among the acanthurids (Reeson 1983). Acanthurids do not display obvious sexual dimorphism, males assume courtship colours (J.H. Choat pers. comm. 2010).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Acanthurus leucocheilus is a component of the marine aquarium trade. It is sold online for $169.95 to $449.95 depending on size (, accessed 20 April 2010). It is a targeted food fish in western Thailand (Allen 2005). It is found in fish markets in Palawan, Philippines (Conales pers. comm. 2010).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats known for this species.

Surgeonfishes show varying degrees of habitat preference and utilization of coral reef habitats, with some species spending the majority of their life stages on coral reef while others primarily utilize seagrass beds, mangroves, algal beds, and /or rocky reefs. The majority of surgeonfishes are exclusively found on coral reef habitat, and of these, approximately 80% are experiencing a greater than 30% loss of coral reef area and degradation of coral reef habitat quality across their distributions. However, more research is needed to understand the long-term effects of coral reef habitat loss and degradation on these species' populations. Widespread coral reef loss and declining habitat conditions are particularly worrying for species that recruit into areas with live coral cover, especially as studies have shown that protection of pristine habitats facilitate the persistence of adult populations in species that have spatially separated adult and juvenile habitats (Comeros-Raynal et al. 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures in place for this species. Its distribution overlaps several marine protected areas in parts of its range.

Citation: Abesamis, R., Clements, K.D., Choat, J.H., McIlwain, J., Myers, R., Nanola, C., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B. & Stockwell, B. 2012. Acanthurus leucocheilus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T177994A1515329. . Downloaded on 16 October 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided