Sanopus splendidus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Batrachoidiformes Batrachoididae

Scientific Name: Sanopus splendidus Collette, Starck & Phillips, 1974
Common Name(s):
English Splendid Toadfish
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N. and Fricke, R. (eds). 2015. Catalog of Fishes: genera, species, references. Updated 1 October 2015. Available at: (Accessed: 1 October 2015).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2012-08-21
Assessor(s): Collette, B., Aiken, K.A. & Polanco Fernandez, A.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N.A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Harwell, H.
This species is known from a limited number of specimens collected from caves under coral reefs in two locations (Mexico and Belize). Its estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 109 km² and its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 9,552 km², which meets the thresholds for Endangered under criterion B2 and Vulnerable under criteria B1 and D2. The combination of disturbance events and chronic stresses has caused an average decline in live coral cover of 41% over the past 42 years off Belize and a 13% decline off Cozumel over the past 27 years. This species is therefore listed as Endangered (EN B2ab(iii)).

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is only known in the Caribbean Sea from two localities: Isla Cozumel off Mexico (Greenfield et al. 2008) and Glover's Reef off Belize (R. Robertson pers. comm. 2014). None were seen by the Starcks in several days diving along the mainland coast of Yucatan (Collette 1974). Its estimated AOO is 109 km² (calculated by clipping the distribution polygon to the WCMC 2013 coral layer). Its estimated EOO is 9,552 km² (based on a minimum convex polygon drawn around the extent of its range on the coral reef layer).
Countries occurrence:
Belize; Mexico
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – western central
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:109Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:9552
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):Yes
Number of Locations:2
Lower depth limit (metres):25
Upper depth limit (metres):10
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is described as 'rare' in a Coral Cay Conservation's list of Belizean fish and coral species (Harborne 2000). Six specimens were examined in the original description (Collette 1974), and only six museum records have been reported for this species. It is sometimes photographed by scuba divers and snorkellers (B. Collette pers. comm. 2012).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species lives in small caves under coral heads at depths between 8-25 m. It feeds on small fishes, gastropods and polychaete worms (Smith 1997, Collette 2002). Toadfishes are likely to exhibit low levels of larval dispersal due to demersal eggs, direct development of larvae, and lack of a pelagic phase. Therefore, toadfish life history is also likely to result in low levels of genetic exchange between populations (Fine 1978, Greenfield et al. 2008).
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): Off Cozumel, reefs have suffered from intense fishing activities since the 1960s and have been under increasing pressure from tourism since the mid 1970s. Major anthropogenic threats to Belize’s reefs include coastal habitat alteration (mangrove clearance, dredging operations), sedimentation, agrochemical and domestic pollution (mainly associated with coastal development, and inadequate solid and liquid waste disposal), overfishing, and direct impacts from tourists, boat anchors and groundings. The tourism industry is growing rapidly, providing the impetus for many of these growing pressures (Wilkinson and Souter 2008). Between 1984-2011 (27 years), there was a 13% decline in live coral cover off Cozumel and an average 41% decline off Belize between 1970-2012 (42 years) (Jackson et al. 2014).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures in place. Eight new marine protected have been established along Mexico's Caribbean coast, and there are a number of new marine protected areas proposed, including one in Cozumel (Wilkinson and Souter 2008). Additional research is needed into the distribution, population abundance, habitat and ecology and possible threats to this species.

Citation: Collette, B., Aiken, K.A. & Polanco Fernandez, A. 2015. Sanopus splendidus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T19899A16643913. . Downloaded on 25 September 2018.
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