Parajulis poecilepterus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Parajulis poecilepterus
Species Authority: (Temminck & Schlegel, 1845)
Common Name(s):
English Multicolorfin rainbowfish
Halichoeres poecilopterus (Richardson, 1846)
Halichoeres poecilopterus (Richardson, 1846)
Julis poecilepterus Temminck & Schlegel, 1845
Julis poecilepterus Temminck & Schlegel, 1845
Julis poecilopterus Richardson, 1846
Julis poecilopterus Richardson, 1846
Julis pyrrhogramma Temminck & Schlegel, 1845
Julis pyrrhogramma Temminck & Schlegel, 1845
Julis thirsites Richardson, 1846
Julis thirsites Richardson, 1846
Parajulis poecilopterus (Temminck & Schlegel, 1845)
Parajulis poecilopterus (Temminck & Schlegel, 1845)
Taxonomic Notes: Halichoeres poecilopterus has often been used in literature in Japan, such as Kinoshita (1936), Okada (1962), Fukui et al. (1991), Kimura and Kiriyama (1992), Kobayashi and Suzuki (1994) and Miyake et al. (2008).

Parenti and Randall (2000) stated that Parajulis is a distinct genus from Halichoeres, although this has not been always followed by other authors.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2008-07-12
Assessor(s): Shea, S., Liu, M. & Craig, M.T.
Reviewer(s): Sadovy, Y. & Carpenter, K.E.
This species is restricted to the northwestern Pacific, and is common in some parts of its range. It is fished in both the recreational and commercial fisheries, at least in Japan. There are no major threats known to this species. It is listed as Least Concern. However, more information on population trends and its harvest level is needed.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is found in the northwest Pacific, from Korea and northern Japan to Taiwan and southern China.
China; Japan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Russian Federation; Taiwan, Province of China
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – northwest
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There is no population information available for this species. This species is considered common in some parts of its range.

It is a common labrid in temperate waters around Japan (Kinoshita 1936, Okada 1962, Nakazono 1979, Fukui et al. 1991, Kimura and Kiriyama 1992, Kobayashi and Suzuki 1994). More than 438 individuals have been observed in an underwater visual survey with 360 transects at Nagahama, Kyoto (Masuda 2008).

It is rare in Hong Kong, only few fish have been observed in areas of boulders and bedrock between three and 20 m (Sadovy and Cornish 2000).

There are no quantitative data on the populations of this species in Korea Republic and Taiwan.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is demersal and is found near shore over pebble and sand bottoms to about 30 m depth (Yamada et al. 1995, Kuiter 2002, Nakabo 2002) in temperate waters (Fujiwara et al. 1994, Sadovy and Cornish 2000). It is commonly found in the coastal waters of Honshu, Kyushu and Shikiko, Japan and is commercially important in Seto Naikai (Hashimoto et al. 1991).

Juveniles and females form small groups, while large males are often seen solitary (Kuiter 2002). It has been observed to hibernate in sand during winter months in Japan (Sadovy and Cornish 2000).

One annulus of each scale is formed once a year in hibernating period from Jan to April. It spawns in early summer from late June to July in Seto Nakai (Hashimoto et al. 1991). It is known that the central part of Seto Inland Sea maintains a high frequency of primary males (43%, Fukui et al. 1991).

It is sexually dichromatic. Terminal phase fish have a green body with orange lines on face, orange dotted along the body and develop a large blue-black blotch above pectoral fin (Fukui et al. 1991, Sadovy and Cornish 2000). The genus Parajulis is confirmed to be protogynous (Sadovy de Mitcheson and Liu 2008). It is reported to be diandric protogynous (Kuwamura et al. 2007, Sakai et al. 2007, Miyake et al. 2008). Large territorial males are derived either from initial females that change sex to male or from primary males into terminal phase males. Initial phase primary males maintain a higher testis to body weight ratio than terminal phase males who are derived from females (Fukui unpublished data in Sakai et al. 2007). Sakai et al. (2007) also suggested that the transition from primary male to terminal phase is closely related to the dominance relationship (size order) within social group. Sex reversal has been shown based upon observations of external transformation of sex characters and internal changes of the gonad (Okada 1962).

Specimens from Seto Inland Sea showed that species larger than 140 mm were males or regarded as males, but in another study, specimens collected from Tokyo bay measuring 140 to 150 mm were females and above 160 mm were observed to be males (Okada 1962).

Terminal phase males maintain territories where they form pairs and spawn with females, whereas initial phase primary males have been found to exhibit parasitic mating behaviour, which is known as streak spawn, in the territory of terminal phase males (Fukui et al. 1991, Kimura and Kiriyama 1992). During spawning season, territorial phase males frequently make active approaches to females, swimming quickly and continuously erecting all their fins (Kimura and Kiriyama 1992). While initial phase males or females that are not in a reproductive state usually swim away from the territories (Sakai et al. 2007).

In a captive environment, Kimura and Kiriyama (1992) recorded continuous daily spawning and Kimura et al. (1998) found that it spawns from June to September during the period 0700-1100. Eggs of P. poecilepterus are buoyant and spherical with colorless yolk filled and a single oil globule. The diameter is approximately 0.67-0.72 mm while the diameter of the oil globule is around 0.13-0.16 mm (Kimura et al. 1998). Maximum size of this species is 34 cm TL (Masuda et al., 1984).
Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is caught by both commercial and recreational fishing (angling) in Japan (Masuda 2008). It has been reported that the total catch by recreational fishing in Japan, for certain fish species, could be higher than that of commercial fisheries (Ruddle and Segi 2006). In Japan, the total landing ranged from 75 to 124 t over the period of decade (Hashimoto et al. 1991), although landings are likely higher since the 1990's. Recreational fishing is unmanaged above the local level and with little monitoring (Ruddle and Segi 2006). This species is also collected for the aquarium trade in Japan (Kouji 2008).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats known for this species, although it is collected for commercial and recreational fisheries in Japan.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no specific conservation measures in place for this species. Its distribution overlaps several marine protected areas within its range. It is reportedly found in the Cape d’ Aguilar Marine Reserve which is the only no-take zone in Hong Kong waters (Cornish 2000). It is worth noting that the total area of the marine reserve is about 20 hectares which comprising less than 1 % of the total sea area of Hong Kong.

Currently, only the boat fishery and set-net fishery need licenses for operations in Japan, while recreational fishing is not included in the licensing system. More species-specific information on population trends and harvest levels is needed.

Citation: Shea, S., Liu, M. & Craig, M.T. 2010. Parajulis poecilepterus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. <>. Downloaded on 23 July 2014.
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