Acanthurus polyzona


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Acanthurus polyzona
Species Authority: (Bleeker, 1868)
Common Name(s):
English Multibar Surgeonfish, Black-barred Surgeonfish
Acanthurus triostegus polyzona (Bleeker, 1868)
Rhombotides polyzona Bleeker, 1868

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2010-05-04
Assessor(s): Russell, B., McIlwain, J., Choat, J.H., Abesamis, R., Clements, K.D., Myers, R., Rocha, L.A., Nanola, C. & Stockwell, B.
Reviewer(s): Davidson, L., Edgar, G. & Kulbicki, M.
Acanthurus polyzona is restricted to the islands of the western Indian Ocean. There is very little information available on this species' population status, biology, or its utilization. The threats are unknown for A. polyzona, although its distribution overlaps with some marine protected areas in parts of its range. It is therefore listed as Data Deficient.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Acanthurus polyzona is known only from Mauritius, RĂ©union, Madagascar, Rodriguez, Comoros Islands and Mayotte.
Comoros; French Southern Territories (Mozambique Channel Is.); Madagascar; Mauritius (Mauritius (main island), Rodrigues); Mayotte; RĂ©union
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – western
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: After a hurricane in Reunion Is. in January 1989, the mean abundance for this species was 0.3/200 m2 on the reef flat. There was no change in mean abundance 18 months after the hurricane (LeTourner et al. 1993). It was not recorded from a biodiversity assessment in northwest Madagascar (Allen 2005).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Specimens were collected from a rocky mangrove shore and tidepool. It also occurs on reef flats and other coral reef habitats to at least 15 m. It co-occurs with A. triostegus. The sexes are separate among the acanthurids (Reeson 1983). Acanthurids do not display obvious sexual dimorphism, males assume courtship colours (J.H. Choat pers. comm. 2010).
Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There is no use or trade information available for this species.

Threats [top]

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

Surgeonfishes show varying degrees of habitat preference and utilization of coral reef habitats, with some species spending the majority of their life stages on coral reef while others primarily utilize seagrass beds, mangroves, algal beds, and /or rocky reefs. The majority of surgeonfishes are exclusively found on coral reef habitat, and of these, approximately 80% are experiencing a greater than 30% loss of coral reef area and degradation of coral reef habitat quality across their distributions. However, more research is needed to understand the long-term effects of coral reef habitat loss and degradation on these species' populations. Widespread coral reef loss and declining habitat conditions are particularly worrying for species that recruit into areas with live coral cover, 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 (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 with some marine protected areas within its range.

Bibliography [top]

Allen, G.R. 2005. Fishes of northwest Madagascar. In: S.A. McKenna and G.R. Allen (eds), A Rapid Marine Biodiversity Assessment of the Coral Reefs of Northwest Madagascar, pp. 124. Conservation International, Washington, D.C.

Comeros-Raynal, M.T., Choat, J.H., Polidoro, B., Clements, K.D., Abesamis, R., Craig, M.T., Lazuardi, M.E., McIlwain, J., Muljadi, A., Myers, R.F., et al.. 2012. The likelihood of extinction of iconic and dominant components of coral reefs: the parrotfishes and surgeonfishes. PLoS ONE

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.2). Available at: (Accessed: 17 October 2012).

Letourneur, Y., Harmelin-Vivien, M. and Galzin, R. 1993. Impact of hurricane Firinga on fish community strucrure on fringing reefs of Reunion Island, S. W. Indian Ocean. Environmental Biology of Fishes 37: 109-120.

Randall, J.E. 2001a. Surgeonfishes of the world. Mutual Publishing and Bishop Museum Press, Hawai'i, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Reeson, P.H. 1983. The biology, ecology and bionomics of the surgeonfishes, Acanthuridae. In: J.L. Munro (ed.), Caribbean coral reef fishery resources, pp. 178-190.

Citation: Russell, B., McIlwain, J., Choat, J.H., Abesamis, R., Clements, K.D., Myers, R., Rocha, L.A., Nanola, C. & Stockwell, B. 2012. Acanthurus polyzona. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 04 September 2015.
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