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Halichoeres burekae 

Scope:Global
Status_ne_offStatus_dd_offStatus_lc_offStatus_nt_offStatus_vu_offStatus_en_onStatus_cr_offStatus_ew_offStatus_ex_off

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Labridae

Scientific Name: Halichoeres burekae
Species Authority: Weaver & Rocha, 2007
Common Name(s):
English Mardi Gras Wrasse
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: Endangered B2ab(ii,iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2014-01-06
Assessor(s): Rocha, L.A., Collette, B.B., Grubbs, D., Pezold, F., Simons, J., Caruso, J., Carlson, J., McEachran, J.D., Brenner, J., Tornabene, L., Chakrabarty, P., Robertson, R., Claro, R., Carpenter, K.E., Vega-Cendejas, M., Camarena-Luhrs, T., Espinosa-Perez, H., Jelks, H., Williams, J. & Craig, M.T.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N.A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Linardich, C.
Justification:
Halichoeres burekae is only known from three widely spaced coral reef localities in the Gulf of Mexico. It can be locally common in at least one locality, but uncommon in the other two. However, areas of suitable habitat are relatively small, few in number, and scattered. Its estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 275 km², which meets the threshold for Endangered under criterion B2. It is under threat from the loss of coral reef habitat due to sedimentation and pollution off Veracruz. It is susceptible to predation by the invasive Lionfish, which now occurs throughout the entire range of this species. An overall 65% decline in prey biomass was directly observed over a period of two years in the Bahamas. However, species-specific decline nor generation length are available at this time. The species is therefore assessed as Endangered (EN B2ab(ii,iii)) with a recommendation to reduce pollution off Veracruz and conduct research on its life history and impact from the invasive Lionfish.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2010 Data Deficient (DD)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This western Atlantic Ocean species is endemic to the Gulf of Mexico, where it has been recorded from shallow reefs off Veracruz (Mexico), the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, and Alacranes Reef (22°31’28N, 89°42’44W) off the northern Yucatan Peninsula (Aguilar-Perrera and Tuz-Aulub 2009). It has been recorded to 50 m depth, but occurs more commonly from 2-24 m.

Its estimated AOO is 275 km² (calculated by clipping the distribution polygon to the coral reef layer from WCMC 2013). Between 1965-1999 (34 years), a 17% decline in coral cover was directly observed off Veracruz (Jackson et al. 2014). There have been no significant observed declines in coral cover in Alacranes or Flower Gardens mostly due to their offshore location or lack of scientific data (Alacranes).
Countries occurrence:
Native:
Mexico; United States
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – western central
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2: 275
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:
Number of Locations: 3
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Lower depth limit (metres): 50
Upper depth limit (metres): 2
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is relatively common on Alacranes Reef, where it forms small (15 individuals) to large (200 individuals) aggregations in depths from 2-25 m (Aguilar-Perrera and Tuz-Aulub 2009). It is uncommonly sighted in visual surveys conducted in Flower Gardens and it is likely that these populations are not reproductively viable due to less optimal habitat available. It is uncommon off Veracruz.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species inhabits coral reef to depths of 24 m, but may occur as deep as 50 m. It is a planktivore. More information is needed on its biology and ecology.
Systems: Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Veracruz reef system is threatened by heavy anthropogenic impacts such as accidental fuel spills, commercial shipping activity that enters directly through the marine protected area, and run-off contamination from heavy metals, faeces, fertilizers and pesticide pollutants (Ortiz-Lozano 2012). The Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano is a national park, however there is no effective management plan in place and the Mexican government has been seeking to reduce the size of the protected area in order to expand the Port of Veracruz onto the reef area (Ortiz-Lozano et al. 2013). There have also been significant declines in Acroporid corals with no sign of recovery and a high prevalence of disease on stony corals (Rangel-Avalos et al. 2007). The coral in the Flower Garden Banks is in good condition (Hickerson et al. 2008). The status of coral on Alacranes is unknown, however, due to its offshore location, it is not expected to be influenced by the effects of pollution.

This species is a prey species of the invasive Lionfish (Pterois volitans) (L. Rocha pers. comm. 2014). Lionfish are currently increasing in all localities of its restricted range. This species is easily targeted by the lionfish given its small, shallow body and demersal habits (Green and Cote 2014). Due to the Lionfish's ability to consume a variety of fishes smaller than 15 cm, both adults and juveniles of this species are likely consumed. In the Bahamas, a 65% decline in Lionfish prey biomass over a period of two years was observed (species-specific data are not available at this time) (Green et al. 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species specific conservation measures for this fish. However, its distribution lies mainly within marine protected areas. The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary was designated in 1992 and is managed by the U.S. federal government. All types of fishing other than recreational hook and line fishing are outlawed, recreational scuba diving is permitted, and anchoring is illegal. Though the banks are in close proximity to intense activity from the oil and gas industry, there have been no known detrimental impacts. The coral reef ecosystem in the sanctuary is considered to be in good or excellent condition (Hickerson et al. 2008).

The Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano has been designated as a national park since 1992 and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 2006, however, there is no effective management plan in place. Furthermore, the Mexican government has been seeking to reduce the size of the protected area in order to expand the Port of Veracruz onto the reef area (Ortiz-Lozano et al. 2013). Similarly, the Alacranes Reef National Park was designated by UNESCO in 1994 and as a national park in 2000.

Citation: Rocha, L.A., Collette, B.B., Grubbs, D., Pezold, F., Simons, J., Caruso, J., Carlson, J., McEachran, J.D., Brenner, J., Tornabene, L., Chakrabarty, P., Robertson, R., Claro, R., Carpenter, K.E., Vega-Cendejas, M., Camarena-Luhrs, T., Espinosa-Perez, H., Jelks, H., Williams, J. & Craig, M.T. 2015. Halichoeres burekae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T187608A1826968. . Downloaded on 02 May 2016.
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