Acanthurus leucopareius 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Acanthuridae

Scientific Name: Acanthurus leucopareius (Jenkins, 1903)
Common Name(s):
English Whitebar Surgeonfish, Head-band Surgeonfish
French Chirurgien à Joue Blanche
Hepatus leucopareius (Jenkins, 1903)
Hepatus umbra (Jenkins, 1903)
Teuthis bishopi Bryan & Herre, 1903
Teuthis leucopareius Jenkins, 1903
Teuthis umbra Jenkins, 1903

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2010-05-03
Assessor(s): Abesamis, R., Clements, K.D., Choat, J.H., McIlwain, J., Myers, R., Nanola, C., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B. & Stockwell, B.
Reviewer(s): Davidson, L., Edgar, G. & Kulbicki, M.
Acanthurus leucopareius is relatively widespread and is a minor component of the fishery in Hawaii. It is not specifically targeted in any fishery. It is very common in the main Hawaiian Islands and common in the North West Hawaiian Islands (NWHI). It is found in a number of marine protected areas and is therefore listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Acanthurus leucopareius is found from the Hawaiian Islands to the Minami-tori-shima (Marcus Island), Mariana Islands and southern Japan from the Ogasawara Islands to Wakayama Prefecture, Honshu. In the Southern Hemisphere it is found from Easter Island, Pitcairn Island, Austral Islands, and Rapa to New Caledonia.
Countries occurrence:
Chile (Easter Is.); China; Cook Islands; French Polynesia; Guam; Hong Kong; Japan; Macao; New Caledonia; Northern Mariana Islands; Pitcairn; Taiwan, Province of China; United States (Hawaiian Is.); United States Minor Outlying Islands (Midway Is., Wake Is.)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – southeast; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):85
Upper depth limit (metres):1
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Fish biomass at the Limahuli offshore site (Hawaii) was dominated by large mobile herbivores. Surgeonfishes were the most important family by weight observed at Limahuli offshore site, followed by triggerfishes, and parrotfishes. Acanthurus leucopareius was among the top five species by weight at this site (Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program accessed 20 April 2010).  This species is collected as an aquarium fish in West Hawaii. The total number of individuals caught from FY 2005-2009 was 47 with a total value of $135 (Walsh et al. 2010).

It is one of the top 17 species by weight in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI). Biomass densities in the NWHI record 0.05 t ha-1 and 0.04 t ha-1 in the main Hawaiian Islands. This species along with Ctenochaetus strigosus, Acanthurus nigrofuscus and Naso lituratus accounted for 46% of the total herbivorous fish biomass and 25% of the total fish biomass in the main Hawaii Island. In the NWHI, these 4 species comprised less than 5% of total fish biomass (Friedlander and DeMartini 2002). It is a dominant fish species in Lawaii Bay, Kauai, Hawaii, biomass of 0.62 t ha-1 (Friedlander et al. 2007).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Acanthurus leucopareius inhabits rocky and coral reefs, primarily boulder-strewn areas of surge zone. It browses on filamentous algae, often in large aggregations that overwhelm the defenses of territorial damselfishes and surgeonfishes. It may mix with A. triostegus when feeding. It is classified as a grazer (Green and Bellwood 2009). 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).



Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Acanthurus leucopareius is harvested in Hawaii where it is a minor component of the fishery (Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council accessed 20 April 2010). It is also a component of the marine aquarium trade. Online prices range from $169.95-$399.95 (L. Rocha pers. comm. 2010).

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. Its distribution overlaps several marine protected areas in parts of its range.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.1. Outer Reef Channel
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.3. Foreslope (Outer Reef Slope)

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over part of range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Comeros-Raynal, M.T., Choat, J.H., Polidoro, B.A., Clements, K.D., Abesamis, R., Craig, M.T., Lazuardi, M.E., McIlwain, J., Muljadi, A., Myers, R.F., Nañola Jr., C.L., Pardede, S., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B., Sanciangco, J.C., Stockwell, B., Harwell, H. and Carpenter, K.E. 2012. The likelihood of extinction of iconic and dominant components of coral reefs: the parrotfishes and surgeonfishes. PLoS ONE

Coral Reef Monitoring and Assessment Program Hawaii. 2010. CRAMP Standard Fish Survey Technique. Available at: (Accessed: 20 April 2010).

Friedlander, A.M. and DeMartini, E.E. 2002. Contrasts in density, size, and biomass of reef fishes between the northwestern and the main Hawaiian islands: the effects of fishing down apex predators. Marine Ecology Progress Series 230: 253-264.

Friedlander, A.M. Hunter, C., and Kreiger, S. 2007. A survey of the marine resources of Lawai Bay, Kauai, to support changes in management proposed by the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. The National Tropical Botanical Garden, Lawai, Hawaii.

Green, A.L. and Bellwood, D.R. 2009. Monitoring functional groups of herbivorous reef fishes as indicators of coral reef resilience – A practical guide for coral reef managers in the Asia Pacific region. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

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

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.

Walsh, W., Cotton, S., Carman, B., Livnat, L., Osada, K., Barnett, C., Tissot, B., Stevenson, T., Wiggins, C., Tarnas, D., Bourdon, K. and Peck, S. 2010. Report on the Findings and Recommendations of Effectiveness of the West Hawaii Regional Fishery Management Area. Department of Land and Natural Resources State of Hawaii, State of Hawaii.

Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. 2010. Hawaii Archipelago: Federal Regulations and Enforcement. Available at: (Accessed: 20 April).

Citation: Abesamis, R., Clements, K.D., Choat, J.H., McIlwain, J., Myers, R., Nanola, C., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B. & Stockwell, B. 2012. Acanthurus leucopareius. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T178011A1520517. . Downloaded on 22 June 2018.
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