Heteroscarus acroptilus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Labridae

Scientific Name: Heteroscarus acroptilus (Richardson, 1846)
Common Name(s):
English Rainbow Cale, Marine Rainbowfish, Rainbow Fish
Odax acroptilus (Richardson, 1846)
Scarus acroptilus Richardson, 1846
Taxonomic Notes: Clements et al. (2004) recognize the Odacini as a tribe within the family Labridae.

This species was previously referred to the genus Odax by Gomon and Paxton (1985), but recent phylogenetic analysis (Clements et al. 2004) indicates Odax is polyphyletic and that acroptilus should be separated in its own genus, Heteroscarus. It is treated as H. acroptilus by Gomon et al. (2008).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2009-09-18
Assessor(s): Russell, B., Clements, K.D., Choat, J.H., Rocha, L.A., Myers, R., Lazuardi, M.E., Muljadi, A., Pardede, S. & Rahardjo, P.
Reviewer(s): McIlwain, J. & Craig, M.T.
Contributor(s): Raynal, M.
This species is widely distributed in temperate southern Australia. There are no major threats to this species. It is not targeted in any fishery and is protected in marine reserves in parts of its range. It is therefore listed as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is found in the southern coast of Australia, from Newcastle, New South Wales to Beacon Island, Western Australia. It is also found along the north and east coasts of Tasmania.
Countries occurrence:
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – southwest
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):25
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Densities of up to 3.8 individuals per 500 m² were recorded in a kelp forest at the Althorpe Islands, central South Australia (Shepherd et al. 2005). A mean density of about 4–5 individuals per 500 m² was recorded in Amphibolis griffithii seagrass beds off Fremantle, Western Australia (MacArthur and Hyndes 2001). It occurs at lower densities in Posidonia beds.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species occurs in depths down to about 25 m. It is mostly restricted to exposed coastlines with rocky reefs covered with brown macroalgae, and in offshore seagrass beds. Adults are much more common in beds of Amphibolis griffithii than other seagrasses, while juveniles are equally abundant in Posidonia sinuosa (MacArthur and Hyndes 2001, Hyndes et al. 2003). It feeds on detritus, bivalves, gastropods, ascidians and bryozoans, with some seagrass and algae (Choat and Clements 1992, Smith et al. 2005, MacArthur and Hyndes 2007). While it is sexually dichromatic, little known of life history. It is probably a protogynous hermaphrodite (J.H. Choat pers comm. 2010).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is occasionally taken on hook and line by recreational fishermen. It is not targeted.

Threats [top]

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

Parrotfishes show varying degrees of habitat preference and utilization of coral reef habitats, with some species spending the majority of their life stages on coral reefs, while others primarily utilize seagrass beds, mangroves, algal beds, and /or rocky reefs. Although the majority of the parrotfishes occur in mixed habitat (primarily inhabiting seagrass beds, mangroves, and rocky reefs) approximately 78% of these mixed habitat species are experiencing greater than 30% loss of coral reef area and habitat quality across their distributions. Of those species that occur exclusively in coral reef habitat, more than 80% are experiencing a greater than 30% of coral reef loss and degradation across their distributions. However, more research is needed to understand the long-term effects of habitat loss and degradation on these species populations.   Widespread coral reef loss and declining habitat conditions are particularly worrying for species that depend on live coral reefs for food and shelter especially as studies have shown that protection of pristine habitats facilitate the persistence of adult populations in species that have spatially separated adult and juvenile habitats. Furthermore, coral reef loss and declining habitat conditions are particularly worrying for some corallivorous excavating parrotfishes that play major roles in reef dynamics and sedimentation (Comeros-Raynal et al. 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures in place for this species. However, its distribution overlaps several marine protected areas within its range.

Citation: Russell, B., Clements, K.D., Choat, J.H., Rocha, L.A., Myers, R., Lazuardi, M.E., Muljadi, A., Pardede, S. & Rahardjo, P. 2012. Heteroscarus acroptilus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T190675A17773590. . Downloaded on 22 June 2018.
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