Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Pomacanthidae

Scientific Name: Centropyge joculator
Species Authority: Smith-Vaniz & Randall, 1974
Common Name(s):
English Yellowhead Angelfish, Cocos pygmy Angelfish, Cocos Angelfish

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-10-09
Assessor(s): Pyle, R., Myers, R., Rocha, L.A. & Craig, M.T.
Reviewer(s): Elfes, C., Polidoro, B., Livingstone, S. & Carpenter, K.E.
Listed as Least Concern, as despite its relatively limited distribution, this species occurs in large populations, there is limited collection of specimens for the aquarium fish trade, and there are no apparent threats.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is known only in the eastern Indian Ocean from the Cocos-Keeling Islands (Australia) and Christmas Island (Australia). It is found from a depth of 15 to at least 70 m, occasionally being found at 8-10 m (Allen 1980).
Countries occurrence:
Christmas Island; Cocos (Keeling) Islands
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern
Lower depth limit (metres):70
Upper depth limit (metres):8
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:It is a common species throughout its range and populations are generally thought to be stable.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It is found in coral or rubble areas on steep outer reef slopes and drop-offs. It is generally found in small groups of four to five individuals, but occasionally is encountered in pairs or as solitary individuals (Allen 1980).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: It is sometimes collected for the aquarium trade, and commands a high price when available because of the difficulties in collecting this species from its relatively remote distribution.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

While it has a limited distribution, there is no substantial habitat loss, it is only occasionally collected for the marine aquarium fish trade, and there appear to be no major threats to this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

There appear to be no species-specific conservation measures in place. This species is believed to be present within marine protected areas at the Cocos-Keeling Islands.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.1. Outer Reef Channel
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.2. Back Slope
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.3. Foreslope (Outer Reef Slope)
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.1. Intentional use: (subsistence/small scale)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Minority (<50%) ♦ severity: Negligible declines ⇒ Impact score: Low Impact: 4 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Allen, G.R. 1980. Butterfly and angelfishes of the world. Wiley, New York.

Allen, G.R., Steene, R. and Allen, M. 1998. A guide to angelfishes and butterflyfishes. Odyssey Publishing/Tropical Reef Research.

Endoh, K. 2007. Angelfishes of the World. Two Little Fishies, Inc., Miami Gardens, Florida.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.4). Available at: (Accessed: 27 October 2010).

Citation: Pyle, R., Myers, R., Rocha, L.A. & Craig, M.T. 2010. Centropyge joculator. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T165890A6158737. . Downloaded on 14 October 2015.
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