Hemigymnus melapterus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Labridae

Scientific Name: Hemigymnus melapterus (Bloch, 1791)
Common Name(s):
English Blackedge thicklip wrasse, Blackeye thicklip wrasee, Half-and-half thicklip, Half-and-half wrasse, Half-half thicklip, Thick-lipped wrasse, Thicklip wrasse
French Labre à grosses lèvres, Mamselle Adèle, Tamarin, Tamarin vert
Spanish Tamarin verde
Cheilolabrus magnilabris Alleyne & Macleay, 1877
Cheilolabrus magnilabris Alleyne & Macleay, 1877
Halichoeres melapterus (Bloch, 1791)
Halichoeres melapterus (Bloch, 1791)
Hamigymnus melapterus (Bloch, 1791)
Hamigymnus melapterus (Bloch, 1791)
Hemigymnus melapturus (Bloch, 1791)
Hemigymnus melapturus (Bloch, 1791)
Labrichthys bicolor Day, 1871
Labrichthys bicolor Day, 1871
Labrus melampterus Bloch & Schneider, 1801
Labrus melampterus Bloch & Schneider, 1801
Labrus melanopterus Froster, 1795
Labrus melanopterus Froster, 1795
Labrus melapterus Bloch, 1791
Labrus melapterus Bloch, 1791
Sparus niger Lacepède, 1802
Sparus niger Lacepède, 1802
Tautoga dimidiatus Bleeker, 1849
Tautoga dimidiatus Bleeker, 1849

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., Sadovy, Y., Craig, M.T. & Rocha, L.A.
Reviewer(s): Russell, B. & Carpenter, K.E.
This species is widespread and is common in many parts of its range. There are no major threats to this species. It is listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is widespread in the Indo-Pacific (Myers 1991, Allen 2000), and is found from the Red Sea and East Africa to French Polynesia (Westneat 2001), north to the Ryukyu Islands, Japan and south to Lord Howe Island (Myers 1991). It is also recorded in Pohnpei (G. Allen unpublished survey 2008).
Countries occurrence:
American Samoa; Australia; British Indian Ocean Territory; Cambodia; China; Christmas Island; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Comoros; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Fiji; Guam; India; Indonesia; Israel; Japan; Jordan; Kenya; Kiribati; Madagascar; Malaysia; Maldives; Marshall Islands; Mauritius; Mayotte; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Mozambique; Myanmar; Nauru; New Caledonia; Niue; Northern Mariana Islands; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Réunion; Samoa; Saudi Arabia; Seychelles; Singapore; Solomon Islands; Somalia; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Tokelau; Tonga; Tuvalu; United States Minor Outlying Islands; Vanuatu; Viet Nam; Wallis and Futuna; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – western; Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):40
Upper depth limit (metres):2
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This is a common species on shallow coral reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific (Grutter and Pankhurst 2000). It is noted as abundant in Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef (Grutter 1995) and is one of the most common wrasses in the Capricorn/ Bunker Group, One Tree, Heron and Wistari reefs, Fairfax, Fitzroy, Llewellyn, Musgrave, in the Great Barrier Reef (Eckert 1984). In Western Australia it occurs in some of the outer reefs, where it is considered more common (B. Russell per. comm. 2009).

In Micronesia, it is moderately common in areas of mixed sand, rubble and coral (Myers 1991).

In the rocky reef flat of Sesoko Island, Japan, mean density was recorded at 1.89 individuals per 100 m2. At Amédée, Signal, Larégnère, Bailly and Maître, New Caledonia, the mean density and biomass was 2.19 per 100 m2 and 432 g per 100 m2 respectively (Wantiez et al. 1997)

Twentynine individuals were observed in Kambing Island, Indonesia (Sumadhiharga 2006). Mean density at Sumilon Island Reserve, Philippines in 1983 was 4.1 fish per 750 m2, however, mean density varied to 0.5 fish per 750 m2 in 1985. Mean density at the Apo Reserve, Philippines was 1.4 individuals per 750 m2 (Russ and Alcala 1989).

In Fiji, a total of 766 individuals were counted in various UVC surveys with body sizes of 5-45 cm TL (M. Kulbicki pers. comm. 2008).

In New Caledonia, a total of 4,834 individuals were counted in various UVC surveys with body sizes of 3-55 cm TL. In 12 stations, a total of 29 individuals were caught with total body weight of 2,725 g (M. Kulbicki pers. comm. 2008).

In French-Polynesia, a total of five individuals were counted in various UVC surveys with body sizes of 8-12 cm TL (M. Kulbicki pers. comm. 2008).

In Tonga, a total of 494 individuals were counted in various UVC surveys with body sizes of 4-40 cm TL (M. Kulbicki pers. comm. 2008).

In Pangkor Island, Malaysia an estimated mean density of 0.33 individuals from three 100 m X 2 m transects was recorded in underwater fish visual surveys (Y. Yusuf unpublished data).

On the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, an estimated mean density of 1.3 individuals from twenty 50 m X 5 m transects was recorded in underwater fish visual surveys (Yusuf et al. 2002).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is found in coral reefs (Allen 2000, Westneat 2001), sub-tidal reef flats, lagoons, outer reef slopes and drop-offs at depths of at least 40 m. It is solitary (Richard and Field 1998, Kuiter 2002) or occurs in small groups (Kuiter 2006).

Juveniles were found inshore (Kuiter 2002) and settled among long spines of urchins or close to substrate among other stinging invertebrates for protection (Kuiter 2006). While in Micronesia, juveniles were observed to occur among branching corals (Myers 1991).

Colour phase varies drastically according to age and sex (Allen 2000, Kuiter 2006), juveniles are green and with a main white bar developing behind pectoral fin, at about a length of seven cm (Kuiter 2002) individuals develop a characteristic bi-colour pattern with pale anterior and dark posterior (Allen 2000).

Diet varies from demersal planktonic crustaceans to hard-shelled invertebrates with growth (Myers 1991). It feeds by picking at dead branching coral or taking in mouthful of sand, sorting out small invertebrates including crustaceans, polychaetes, mollusks and brittle stars in the mouth, and then expelling the sand through the gill operculae (Westneat 2001, Grutter et al. 2002). The highest feeding rates occurred at mid-day with approximately 1.65 bites per 30 min and it does not feed at night (Grutter et al. 2002).

At One Tree lagoon, Great Barrier Reef, the percentage mortality of the newly settled H. melapterus during the first 12 months was 51 % and the annual mortality was 18.6 +/- 1.6 %. Initial phase have been observed to move away from their home-range when becoming adults, thus, it is worth noting that the mortality might involved component of emigration (Eckert 1987).

Lewis (1997) revealed that the maximum percentage of post-recruit immigration at Heron Island, Australia, was 24.3 % and H. melapterus was more abundant on the reef flat than on the slope due to the influence of prey specific preference.

Gills of this species have been found to accommodate many gill- inhabiting copepods, Hatschekia hemigymni (Grutter 1994, 2002) and the ectoparasite numbers and compositions inhabiting the body varied spatially and temporally in the Great Barrier Reef (Grutter 1994).

Grutter et al. (2002) suggested that the immune system of the juveniles are not as competent as the larger fish, thus, a high density of parasite Benedenia lolo was found on the relatively smaller fish. Grutter (1998) also analysed the differences in the abundance of parasites and suggested that the home range of this species was about hundreds of metres.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is marketed for food fish and as aquarium fish in Taiwan (Shao 2008).

In Queensland, individuals are exported at prices of $ AUD 5 - $ 10, according to the size of this species (Ryan and Clarke 2005). Juveniles are occasionally found in the global marine aquarium trade (Westneat 2001). In New Caledonia, this species is utilized as food fish (Wantiez et al. 1997). Westneat (2001) also noted that it is found in markets and is taken by speardivers globally. The average body size in Guam caught in fisheries over 10 years is stable with and averaged 24 cm (R. Myers pers. comm. 2008). In Australia, H. melapterus is occasionally taken by recreational fisheries but is not recorded at a species-specific level.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats known for this species, although it is targeted by spearfishers and is collected for the aquarium trade and in multispecies fisheries.

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. More species-specific information on harvest and trade for is needed for this species.

Hemigymnus melapterus is found in the Mafia Island Marine Park, Tanzania (Carpe and Öhaman 2003), the Great Barrier Reef (Grutter 1994), Berbera Marine Protected Area, Somali (Schleyer and Bladwin 1999), Shark Reef Marine Reserve, Fiji (Brunnschweiler and Earle 2006), NHA Trang Bay, Vietnam (Dung 2007), Curieuse Marine National Park (Pittman 1997), Bar Reef Marine Sancutuary, Sri Lanka (Öhman et al. 1997), Kepulauan Seribu Marine National Park, Indonesia (Aktani 2003), Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park (personal observations), Apo and Sumilon Island Reserve, Cebu, Philippines (Russ and Alcala 1989), Marine Protected Areas of Philippines (Abesamis et al. 2006), Amédée, Signal, Larégnère, Bailly and Maître Reserve, New Caledonia (Wantiez et al. 1997).

In Phillippines:
It is worth noting that those captioned marine parks do not necessarily equal to no-fishing areas since limited fishing activity is allowed. For instance fishing is allowed in Sumilon Island reserve and H. melapterus is reported to be targeted by local fishers. The mean density of H. melapterus in Sumilon Island Reserve has been observed to decline after fishing was allowed within the reserve areas (Russ and Alcala 1989).

In Western Australia, there is no legal catch size for Labridae but daily catch limit is seven individuals per angler. No spear-fishing is allowed within the Ningaloo Marine Park (Government of Western Australia 2008a). In Queensland, the minimum legal size for wrasse is 25 cm and daily bag limit is five individual per species per angler, in addition, closed season for fishing applies to coral reef finfish (Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries: Queensland Government 2008).

Citation: Shea, S., Liu, M., Sadovy, Y., Craig, M.T. & Rocha, L.A. 2010. Hemigymnus melapterus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187476A8545602. . Downloaded on 15 October 2018.
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