Acanthistius ocellatus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Serranidae

Scientific Name: Acanthistius ocellatus (Günther, 1859)
Common Name(s):
English Eastern Wirrah
Plectropoma cyanostigma Günther, 1859
Plectropoma myriaster Steindachner, 1866
Plectropoma ocellatum Günther, 1859

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-02-04
Assessor(s): Sadovy, Y.J.
Reviewer(s): Collen, B., Richman, N., Beresford, A., Chenery, A. & Ram, M.
Contributor(s): De Silva, R., Milligan, H., Lutz, M., Batchelor, A., Jopling, B., Kemp, K., Lewis, S., Lintott, P., Sears, J., Wilson, P. & Smith, J. and Livingston, F.
The Eastern Wirrah, Acanthistius ocellatus, has been assessed as Least Concern. This species, which is considered one of the more common large fishes on deeper reefs, is of no importance to commercial fisheries but is often caught using hook and line by recreational fishers. This threat, however, is not likely to be causing any significant declines to the population of Eastern Wirrah and can therefore not be considered a major threat.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Eastern Wirrah, Acanthistius ocellatus, is found along the eastern coast of Australia from southern Queensland through to New South Wales and eastern Victoria. Its range also includes the coast of northern Tasmania and Lord Howe Island.
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Lord Howe Is., Macquarie Is., New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):100
Upper depth limit (metres):4
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The Eastern Wirrah is one of the more common large fishes on deeper New South Wales reefs (Edgar 2000).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Eastern Wirrah is found in a range of reef habitats, in caves and crevices of rocky reefs from near-shore rockpools and estuaries, to further offshore. This species has a depth range of 4-100 m.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is harvested by recreational fishermen.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): While the Eastern Wirrah is not harvested commercially, it is often caught using hook and line by recreational fishermen. It is not known what impact this is having on population numbers of this species, however there are no reports of this species suffering any significant declines and this is therefore unlikely to be acting as a major threat at present.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures in place for Eastern Wirrah, however its distribution may cover a number of marine protected areas including the Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park in Victoria, Australia.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.2. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.10. Marine Neritic - Estuaries

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 -> 5.4.6. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Breder, C.M. and Rosen, D.E. 1966. Modes of reproduction in fishes. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, New Jersey, USA.

Edgar, G. 2000. Australian marine life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed New Holland, Sydney.

Francis, M.P. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, Southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Scientific 47(2): 136-170.

Froese, R. and Pauly, D. 2006. FishBase. Available at:

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

Kingsford, M. J., Underwood, A. J., and Kennelly, S. J. 1991. Humans as predators on rocky reefs in New South Wales, Australia. Marine Ecology Progress Series 72: 1-14.

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to sea fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. New Holland, London, UK.

Ocean Biogeographic Information System. 2006. Data Extent Map: OBIS Stored Distribution-Acanthistius ocellatus. (data sourced from FishBase DiGIR Provider - Phili.

Paxton, J.R., Hoese, D.F., Allen, G.R. and Hanley, J.E. 1989. Pisces. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, Australia.

Wood, L.J. 2007. MPA Global: A Database of the World's Marine Protected Areas. Available at:

Citation: Sadovy, Y.J. 2010. Acanthistius ocellatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T155326A4775877. . Downloaded on 18 August 2018.
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