Xyrichtys novacula 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Labridae

Scientific Name: Xyrichtys novacula (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Cleaver Wrasse, Pearly Razorfish
French Donzelle Lame, Rason
Spanish Cuchillo Perlino, Doncella, Doncella Cuchilla, Doncella Verde, Galán, Loro Navaja, Raó, Raor
Amorphocephalus granulatus Bowdich, 1825
Coryphaena lineata Gmelin, 1789
Coryphaena lineolata Rafinesque, 1810
Coryphaena novacula Linnaeus, 1758
Coryphaena psittacus Linnaeus, 1766
Hemipteronotus copei Fowler, 1900
Hemipteronotus novacula (Linnaeus, 1758)
Hemipteronotus psittacus (Linnaeus, 1766)
Novacula coryphaena Risso, 1827
Novacula coryphaeno Schinz, 1822
Novacula coryphaenoides Schinz, 1822
Novacula coryphena Risso, 1827
Novacula lineata (Gmelin, 1789)
Novacula lineolata (Rafinesque, 1810)
Novacula novacula (Linnaeus, 1758)
Xyrichthys argentimaculata Steindachner, 1861
Xyrichthys binghami Mowbray, 1925
Xyrichthys cultratus Valenciennes, 1840
Xyrichthys jessiae Jordan, 1888
Xyrichthys novacula (Linnaeus, 1758)
Xyrichthys psittacus (Linnaeus, 1766)
Xyrichthys rosipes Jordan & Gilbert, 1884
Xyrichthys uniocellatus Agassiz, 1931
Xyrichthys vermiculatus Poey, 1860
Xyrichthys vitta Valenciennes, 1840
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N. (ed.). 2014. Catalog of Fishes. Updated 27 August 2014. Available at: (Accessed: 27 August 2014).
Taxonomic Notes: There is some taxonomic confusion between the species under Xyrichtys and Iniistius. The genus Iniistius has been considered a synonym of Xyrichtys by some authors but it is now recognized as a separate genus, distinct from Xyrichtys (Randall and Earle 2002, Randall et al. 2002). Seventeen species are included in Iniistius and they are: I. aneitensis, I. auropunctatus, I. baldwini, I. bimaculatus, I. cyanifrons, I. dea, I. evides, I. griffithsi, I. jacksoniensis, I. melanopus, I. pavo, I. pentadactylus, I. spilonotus, I. trivittatus, I. twistii, I. umbrilatus, and I. verrens.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2008-04-12
Assessor(s): Pollard, D., Rocha, L., Ferreira, C.E., Francini-Filho, R. & Moura, R.R.
Reviewer(s): Sadovy, Y. & Carpenter, K.E.
This species is widespread throughout the western and eastern sub-tropical and tropical Atlantic, as well as the entire Mediterranean Sea. It is commercially fished in some countries. The population status of this species is currently unknown, though it is thought to be stable, with no evidence of any declines. This species is therefore listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species has a widespread tropical and sub-tropical Atlantic distribution from North Carolina to Santa Catarina, Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, in the western Atlantic. It is found from southern Spain to Gabon, including the Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands and Sao Tome and Principe, in the Eastern Atlantic. It is also present throughout the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Marmara, but not in the Black Sea (D. Pollard pers. comm. 2008).

There is no record of this species in the oceanic islands of Brazil (C. Ferreira pers. comm. 2009).
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Algeria; Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Benin; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Saba, Sint Eustatius); Brazil; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Cayman Islands; Colombia; Costa Rica; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cuba; Curaçao; Cyprus; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Egypt; Equatorial Guinea; France; French Guiana; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Gibraltar; Greece; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guatemala; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Israel; Italy; Jamaica; Lebanon; Liberia; Libya; Malta; Martinique; Mauritania; Mexico; Monaco; Montenegro; Montserrat; Morocco; Nicaragua; Nigeria; Panama; Portugal; Puerto Rico; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (French part); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Sao Tomé and Principe; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Slovenia; Spain; Suriname; Syrian Arab Republic; Togo; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia; Turkey; Turks and Caicos Islands; United States; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.; Western Sahara
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – western central; Atlantic – northeast; Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – eastern central; Mediterranean and Black Sea
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):90
Upper depth limit (metres):2
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There is no population information available for this species. However, it is considered common in the majority of its range.

For example, this species is common in Lebanon and Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea, but there is little or no population information available for it throughout most of its Mediterranean range (D. Pollard pers. comm. 2008). In the western Atlantic, this species is relatively common throughout most of its range. It is also common in the Azores islands on shallower sandy habitats (P. Afonso pers. comm. 2008).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species generally inhabits clear shallow areas with sandy substrates, usually in the vicinity of seagrass beds and coral reefs (Schneider 1990), although it can be found to 90m. It lives singly or in small groups (Golani et al. 2006).

It feeds mainly on molluscs, but also on crabs and shrimps (Gomon 1978).

This species is a protogynous hermaphrodite, with sexual dimorphism apparent in the shape of the head and the length of the pelvic fin (Gomon and Forsyth 1990). It builds nests out of coral debris in coral reef habitats. When disturbed it may dive head first into the sand (Lieske and Myers 1994).

The western Atlantic fish are generally smaller than the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean fish.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is caught in artisanal fisheries in some parts of its range. In the Mediterranean, this species is fished commercially in Lebanon (M. Bariche pers. comm.) and Sicily (L. Tunesi pers. comm.) usually by hook and line. It may also be caught in trawls (D. Pollard pers. comm. 2008).

Threats [top]

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

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.

Citation: Pollard, D., Rocha, L., Ferreira, C.E., Francini-Filho, R. & Moura, R.R. 2010. Xyrichtys novacula. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187696A8603436. . Downloaded on 27 April 2018.
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