Semicossyphus reticulatus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Semicossyphus reticulatus
Species Authority: (Valenciennes, 1839)
Common Name/s:
English Asian Sheepshead Wrasse
Cossyphus reticulatus Valenciennes, 1839

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Assessor/s: Cornish, A. (Grouper & Wrasse Specialist Group)
Reviewer/s: Sadovy, Y. & Nakazono, A. (Grouper & Wrasse Red List Authority)
Remarkably little information is available about Semicossyphus reticulatus despite its size and the fact that it is a large and conspicuous wrasse and a valued food fish. The Japan Game Fish Association record is 14.7 kg and the species can attain 100 cm in total length (Masuda et. al. 1975). Japan The only information on possible changes in abundance over time is that "occurrence of juveniles at the northern coast of Kyushu have not changed for many years" (A. Nakazono pers. comm. 2003). The species is not preferred in Japan and only consumed locally (i.e., not exported) (Dr. Shigeta and Dr. A. Nakazono pers. comms.). It is not particularly common. There are no UVC data (A. Nakazono, pers. comm). A student (Okamoto communicating to A. Nakazono) regularly surveying fishing ports in eastern Kyushu did not see any individuals landed but did catch two (ca. 33 cm TL) after putting out gill nets. There were no landings records obtainable and the species is not a preferred eating fish because of its soft tissue. The use of the attractive juveniles by fish hobbyists is not known (A. Nakazono pers. comm.). An area of concern for this species, that of reproductive biology, is suggested from one of only two other congeners, Semicossyphus pulcher which occurs off California and has been much better studied. S. pulcher is a similar size to S. reticulatus, reaching a maximum length of 91 cm (FishBase) and also inhabits cool waters. It is protogynous with females reaching sexual maturity at 3–6 years (depending on location) and sexual transformation from female to male taking place several years later (Cowen 1990). Sex-changing fish can be particularly vulnerable to fishing where fishing targets a narrow range of sizes as this may target the sexes differentially resulting in populations with skewed sex-ratios. Semicossyphus reticulatus is assessed as Data Deficient ,as crucial information on population size and biology is not available. In order to assess this species in future the following information is required: 1. Basic information on relative abundance (CPUE or landings) from mainland China and southern Korea and on sizes fished. 2. Fisheries and/or visual census data over time that can be used to infer changes in population size and threats from fishing in each of mainland China, Japan and the Korean peninsula. 3. Basic information on the ways this species is targeted in each of mainland China, Japan and the Korean peninsula. 4. Information on age and size of sexual maturity and whether or not the species changes sex. Given the large size of the species and its probably intrinsic vulnerability, information needs to be collected or sourced for it and a reassessment carried out as soon as possible.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Recorded from the main islands of Japan, the Korean Penninsula and South China Sea including China (Masuda et al. 1984) but not Taiwan (The Fish Database of Taiwan). Extent of distribution along the coast of mainland China is not clear but it is known from islands close to Hong Kong (Sadovy and Cornish 2000).

In Japan S. reticulatus inhabits cooler waters and is found in the Japan Sea and Seto Inland Sea (Masuda et al. 1975). Reported occurrence in the Ogasawara Islands is in doubt (Randall et al. 1997). Given that this is a cold water species and is rare in subtropical Hong Kong, the latter probably represents the southern limit for the species along the coast of mainland China.
China; Japan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – northwest
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Almost nothing is known about the abundance of the Asian sheepshead wrasse. It is "commonly found" in the Japan Sea and Seto Inland Sea (Masuda et al. 1975) and is rare in the vicinity of Hong Kong (Sadovy and Cornish 2000).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Inhabits rocky reefs and feeds on shellfish and crustaceans (Masuda et al. 1975). Spawning in large aquaria has been observed; the strongest male drove away all other males and then rose rapidly to the surface with a single female where spawning occurred (Nishiguchi and Okuno 1965).
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Overfishing is likely to be the major threat to this species. The extent of this threat is not known, primarily as this species only appears to be targeted as part of a mixed reef fishery and, therefore, little research has been done on this species individually.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are not known to be any fishing restrictions, nor no-take marine reserves within the range of this species. However, at some places in the Japan Sea, the spawning adult fish are protected by local divers to attract tourist divers (A. Nakazono, pers. comm., 2003).
Citation: Cornish, A. (Grouper & Wrasse Specialist Group) 2004. Semicossyphus reticulatus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 21 April 2014.
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