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Elops hawaiensis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII ELOPIFORMES ELOPIDAE

Scientific Name: Elops hawaiensis
Species Authority: Regan, 1909
Common Name(s):
English Giant Herring, Hawaiian Ladyfish
Taxonomic Notes:

Elops machnata and E. hawaiensis occur sympatrically in the Western Pacific and possibly the Hawaiian Islands, so further research appears warranted. In Japan, for example, Sato and Yasuda (1980) claim that E. machnata historically reported in the region are misidentifications of E. hawaiensis. Wang et al. (2002) state that genetic data are now available to discriminate between E. machnata and E. hawaiensis.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2011-03-30
Assessor(s): Adams, A., Guindon, K., Horodysky, A., MacDonald, T., McBride, R., Shenker, J. & Ward, R.
Reviewer(s): Harwell, H. & Raynal, M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Harwell, H.
Justification:
This species occurs throughout the Indo-West Pacific; from the Andaman Sea east to Hawaii and Tuamotu Archipelago, north to southern Japan, south to northwestern Australia, New South Wales and New Caledonia. Its current population status is unknown. Minor commercial landings by spearing have been reported in Hawaii, and it is targeted by recreational anglers throughout its range. There is a paucity of fisheries information throughout much of its range. Elops hawaiensis utilizes estuarine areas and hyper-saline lagoons; changes in the the quality of this habitat may affect this species' population dynamics.  Although this species is not closely associated with any single habitat, it may be adversely affected by urbanization. A number of questions remain regarding its taxonomic uncertainty, population status, fisheries interactions and potential threats throughout its range. Therefore, it is listed as Data Deficient. Future monitoring is needed, particularly in the Coral Triangle, where significant declines in other Elopiformes have been inferred.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species occurs throughout the eastern Indo-West Pacific; from the Andaman Sea east to Hawaii and Tuamotu Archipelago, north to southern Japan, south to northwestern Australia, New South Wales and New Caledonia (Eschmeyer and Fong 2008).
Countries:
Native:
American Samoa (American Samoa); Australia; Cambodia; China; Cook Islands; Fiji; French Polynesia; Guam; India (Andaman Is., Nicobar Is.); Indonesia; Japan; Kiribati; Malaysia; Marshall Islands; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Myanmar; Nauru; New Caledonia; Niue; Northern Mariana Islands; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Samoa; Singapore; Solomon Islands; Taiwan, Province of China; Thailand; Tokelau; Tonga; Tuvalu; United States (Hawaiian Is.); United States Minor Outlying Islands (Howland-Baker Is., Johnston I., Wake Is.); Vanuatu; Viet Nam; Wallis and Futuna
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There are numerous museum records for this species (more than 120 specimens) (accessed through the Fishnet2 Portal, www.fishnet2.net, 2011-05-14). The population status of this species is unknown.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

This is a coastal fish, commonly entering lagoon, bays, and estuaries (Allen 1991, Mundy 2005), particularly around mangroves (Allen et al. 2002). This species sometimes enters freshwater streams, but does not penetrate very far inland (Allen 1991). Younger fish, in particular, often penetrate the lower freshwater reaches of rivers (Sato and Yasuda 1980, Allen et al. 2002). Elops hawaiensis is an active swimmer, commonly travelling in schools in open water. It feeds on various fishes and crustaceans. Little detailed knowledge exists of its biology. Spawning presumably takes place offshore and young larvae are found in the open sea, moving close to shore as they develop. Juveniles are commonly found in salt marshes, canals, and tidal streams (Smith 1997). It is found at depths of 1–30 m and can grow up to 1.2 m (SL) in length.

Elops hawaiensis was collected as leptocephalus larvae in ten months out of the year in the Tanshui River, Taiwan (Tzeng and Wang (1992). They were collected from mesohaline to polyhaline habitats. Tzeng and Teng (2005) found two main recruitment season in spring and summer in northern Taiwan.  Abrantes and Sheaves (2010) report the utilization of upstream wetland habitat by this species.

Hiatt (1947) examined E. hawaiensis (called E. machnata) and found it to be primarily carnivorous, eating fish and shrimp. There was some indication of prey size positively related to predator size. Hundreds of E. hawaiensis leptocephalus larvae were caught in three of four estuaries on the west coast of Taiwan (Tzeng et al. 2002). Doupe et al. (2005) observed this species in Ord River in the northern territories of Australia. Fujita et al. (2002) collected E. hawaiensis in the Shimanto Estuary, Japan; sizes ranged from 27 to 37 mm TL.

Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is often targeted by recreational anglers, especially those using light tackle. Minor commercial landings by spearing have been reported in Hawaii (Smith 1993). They have been known to occur in prehistoric and historic fish ponds (Kikuchi 1976, Hiatt 1947, referred to as E. machnata, Bond and Gmirkin 2003).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Minor commercial landings by spearing have been reported in Hawaii (Smith 1993). This species is targeted by recreational anglers throughout its range. There is a paucity of fisheries information throughout much of its range.

Elops hawaiensis utilizes estuarine areas and hyper-saline lagoons; changes in the the quality of this habitat may affect this species' population dynamics. Since this species may be closely associated with mangroves, it may be adversely affected by urbanization.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures in place for this species. Its distribution overlaps with marine reserves in parts of its range.

Citation: Adams, A., Guindon, K., Horodysky, A., MacDonald, T., McBride, R., Shenker, J. & Ward, R. 2012. Elops hawaiensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 October 2014.
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