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Bohadschia argus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA ECHINODERMATA HOLOTHUROIDEA ASPIDOCHIROTIDA HOLOTHURIIDAE

Scientific Name: Bohadschia argus
Species Authority: (Jaeger, 1833)
Common Name(s):
English Leopardfish, Tigerfish
Taxonomic Notes: Conand (2008) recommends the taxonomic revision of the whole genus Bohadschia. This species may be confused with B. atra.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-05-18
Assessor(s): Conand, C., Gamboa, R. & Purcell, S.
Reviewer(s): Polidoro, B., Carpenter, K.E., Knapp, L. & Harwell, H.
Justification:
This species is relatively widespread in the tropical Pacific, and is fairly common and occurs in deeper waters. It is opportunistically fished in some parts of its range (Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia), but is less fished other parts of its range (New Caledonia, Australia) due to its relatively low commercial value. It is considered common in many parts of its range. It is listed as Least Concern. However, this species could be more intensively harvested in the near future as high value species are depleted.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is known from China and Indonesia to French Polynesia. There is a record from the Red Sea, that may be a misidentification of B. atra.
Countries:
Native:
American Samoa (American Samoa); Australia; Bangladesh; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; Cook Islands; Fiji; French Polynesia; Guam; Indonesia; Japan; Kiribati; Malaysia; Marshall Islands; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Mozambique; Myanmar; Nauru; New Caledonia; Niue; Northern Mariana Islands; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Pitcairn; Samoa; Seychelles; Singapore; Solomon Islands; Sri Lanka; Taiwan, Province of China; Thailand; Timor-Leste; Tokelau; Tonga; Tuvalu; Vanuatu; Viet Nam; Wallis and Futuna
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:

This species is considered to be very common.

In 1978, Tuvalu registered commercial densities of B. argus; whilst in Fafaofo Atoll, B. argus was recorded in moderately high densities; in Palmerston Atoll, B. argus was sparse (Kinch et al. 2008). In East New Britain, Papua New Guinea, there were 18ind*ha-1 (Kinch et al. 2008)

Eriksson (2006) used species-specific transect data to estimate an average population density of 5 individuals of this species per hectare in Samoan lagoons. They were present in 22 of 297 transects.

Population density for this species was estimated at 4.2 individuals per hectare in the Solomon Islands in 1992 (http://www.spc.org.nc/coastfish/reports/ifrp/solomon/SURVEY.xls).

This species is part of a small export fishery (2.13t 1990) in Palau (Bruckner et al. 2003).

In Thailand, populations of this species have decreased in fishing areas (Bruckner et al. 2003).

Populations of this species never reach high densities (generally between 0.001 and 0.01 individual per square meter) (SeaLifeBase).

Purcell et al. (2009) found this species at moderate abundances of estimated 1,000 to 3,000 ind*km-2 at 6 sites in New Caledonia, and it is currently rarely fished due to its low value.

In PNG, estimates in 1992 were 5 individuals per hectare and in 2006 estimates were 3.7 individuals per hectare (Kaly et al. 2007).

In Bolinao, Philippines density is 0.4 individuals per hectare (Menez in press).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found on coral reefs and in lagoons and estuaries. It is typically found between 0 and 20m, but sometimes is found to 30m (Conand 1989). Sexual reproduction takes place in one clear seasonal peak per year, probably during the warm season. In New Caledonia, this species spawns in December whilst in the Great Barrier Reef it spawns in June (Kinch et al. 2008).

In the Western Central Pacific, this species prefers barrier reef flats and slopes, or outer lagoons on white sand between 0 and 30m (Kinch et al. 2008); in China it lives among coral reefs between 10 and 50m (Li 2004). Purcell et al. (2009) found that in New Caledonia this species was most commonly found on sand at the base of reef structures in sheltered habitats on lagoon reefs and barrier reefs.

This species is known to host symbiotic fish (Carapus and Encheliophis spp.) in their cloacae (Li 2004).
Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species if fished in many parts of its range.  It is fished in 17 countries and island nations of the Western Central Pacific including: Palau, Guam, CNMI, FSM, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Wallis and Futuna, Samoa, Tonga, Niue, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji (Kinch et al. 2008). In Asia, it is of commercial importance in China, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam (Choo 2008). 

In Fiji, this species is considered of no commercial value (Kinch et al. 2008). It is of medium low commercial importance in China (Chen 2004). It is part of a subsistence fishery in Wallis and Futuna and Samoa. In the 1980s there was a multispecies fishery in the Cook Islands which included this species.

This species is also exported for the aquarium trade from Solomon Islands, and possibly from Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Tonga and Kiribati.

This species is consumed, either whole or their instestines and/or gonads, in different countries of the Western Central Pacific region, as delicacies or as protein in their traditional diets.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Excessive commercial harvest is a potential threat as harvest increases, but current commercial value is low (Toral-Granda 2006). According to Skewes et al. (2004) this species is exploited in Torres Straight for a medium commercial value.

In Indonesia this species is heavily fished, whilst in other parts it may be under potential fishing threats. In Vietnam, original catches have decreased, and now due to the sharp decline of stocks in the area there is not much fishing activity. There is illegal fishing for sea cucumbers in the Cambodian side of the Phu Quoc Archipelago (Choo 2008). In Tanzania, there is an active fishery for B. atra, which is often called B. argus.

In Kiribati, a sea cucumber fishery boomed between 2000-2002 but now is considered depleted. Target species of this fishery included this species. In Samoa, between 1993-1994, this species comprised 19% of the exports. The fishery stalled after 1994 with few species sold for aquarium use.

Generally, sea cucumbers are caught in shallow waters either by free diving or using large poles or lead bombs, but as these populations decreased, hookah diving replaces free diving activities (i.e. Vietnam) (Choo 2008)

Although not one of the most important species (low value) for fishery purposes, it can be expected that this species may become more popular after the depletion or reduction of other species of higher commercial importance and value.

Many sea cucumbers are broadcast spawners, which can limit the fertilization success of a species in exploited populations.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

In Papua New Guinea,  this species has a minimum landing size of 20cm TL and a dry landing size of 10cm TL (Kinch et al. 2008).

With the inclusion of I. fuscus in CITES Appendix III, a debate started whether the conservation of this group may be addressed with their inclusion in one of CITES appendices. The debate started in Conference of the Parties (CoP) 12 (Santiago, Chile) and extended to CoP 14 (The Hague, Netherlands). No recent advances have been achieved on this matter. For a revision of the possible pros and cons of a CITES listing, please see Toral-Granda (2007).

Citation: Conand, C., Gamboa, R. & Purcell, S. 2013. Bohadschia argus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 October 2014.
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