Ambassis gymnocephalus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Ambassidae

Scientific Name: Ambassis gymnocephalus (Lacepède, 1802)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Bald Glassy Perchlet
Apogon roseus Fischer, 1885
Chanda gymnochephalus (Lacepède, 1802)
Lutjanus gymnocephalus Lacepède, 1802
Taxonomic Notes: Ambassis gymnocephalus was originally described as Lutjanus gymnocephalus by Lacepède (1802) from Indo-Pacific region. This species is considered as 'nomen dubium' by Anderson and Heemstra (2003) because of the considerable taxonomic confusion and on the basis of the lack of diagnostic features. However, the species has been considered as valid by Day (1875), Talwar and Jhingran (1991), Jayaram (1999) and Eschmeyer (2010).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-10-02
Assessor(s): Dahanukar, N.
Reviewer(s): Basheer, V.S., Krishna , K.K., Abraham, R. & Cox, N.A.
Contributor(s): Molur, S.
Ambassis gymnocephalus is assessed as Least Concern because it is a widespread species with no known major threats. However, the taxonomy of this species needs to be resolved. Furthermore, there is a need to study the population status, harvest trends and threats to the species.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Ambassis gymnocephalus is distributed in Indo-West Pacific (Day 1875, Talwar and Jhingran 1991, Jayaram 1999): Red Sea and South Africa (Whitfield and Paterson 2003), Kenya to the Philippines, India (Bhimachar and Venkataraman 1952, Venkataraman 1960, Tilak 1972), Sri Lanka (Vinobaba 2007) north to China (Randall and Lim 2000), Hong Kong (Nip and Wong 2010), Thiland (Shinnaka et al. 2007), Hainan (Nichols and Pope 1927), Borneo (Inger 1955) and Taiwan (Hung and Chiu 1991), south to northern Australia (Russell et al. 2003).
Countries occurrence:
Australia; China (Hainan); Hong Kong; India; Indonesia; Kenya; Madagascar; Malaysia; Philippines; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Taiwan, Province of China; Viet Nam
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:No information is available on the population trends of Ambassis gymnocephalus. However, the species is common in India (Bhimachar and Venkataraman 1952, Venkataraman 1960) and Hong Kong (Nip and Wong 2010) with 67.74 % of total abundance and 66.27% of percent biomass in Tolo Harbour. The species is rare in South Africa (Whitfield and Paterson 2003).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Ambassis gymnocephalus is primarily marine fish but it enters estuaries and freshwaters (Talwar and Jhingran 1991). It feeds on copepals (like Centropages, Pseudodiuptomus, Eucalanus, Acartia and Oithona), polychaetes (chiefly Prionospio pinnara), cladocerans, decapods, cirripede larva and diatoms and rarely on Sugitta, Hippa, amphipods, larval bivalves, fish post-larva and fish scales (Venkataraman 1960). This species attains a total length of 10 cm (Talwar and Jhingran 1991).
Systems:Freshwater; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Ambassis gymnocephalus is caught and sold in local markets. It is often sundried and sold as dry fish (Talwar and Jhingran 1991). No reports are available on harvesting as a threat to the species.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Threats to Ambassis gymnocephalus are poorly known, but currently there are believed to be no major threats to the species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Currently there is no specific action plan directed towards Ambassis gymnocephalus. Research is needed on the taxonomy, population status, harvest trends and threats to the species. It is not known if the species is present in any protected areas.

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
13. Marine Coastal/Supratidal -> 13.4. Marine Coastal/Supratidal - Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over part of range
  Occur in at least one PA:Unknown
  Area based regional management plan:No
  Invasive species control or prevention:No
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:No
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No
1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Anderson, M.E. and Heemstra, P.C. 2003. Review of the glassfishes (Perciformes: Ambassidae) of the Western Indian Ocean. Cybium 27(3): 199-209.

Bhimachar, B.S. and Venkataraman, G. 1952. A preliminary study of the fish populations along the malabar coast. Proceedings of the National Institute of Science of India 18(6): 627-655.

Day, F. 1875. The fishes of India: being a natural history of the fishes known to inhabit the seas and fresh waters of India, Burma, and Ceylon. Volume 1. William Dawson & Sons Ltd., London.

Eschmeyer, W.N. 2010. Catalog of Fishes electronic version. Available at:

Hung, J.-B. and Chiu, T.-S. 1991. Ecogeographic difference of larval fish assemblage in costal waters of the Western Central Taiwan. Journal of FIsh Society of Taiwan 18(4): 241-256.

Inger, R.F. 1955. Ecological notes on the fish fauna of a costal drainage of North Borneo. Fieldiana: Zoology 37(3): 47-90.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.1). Available at: (Accessed: 30 June 2017).

Jayaram, K.C. 1999. The freshwater fishes of the Indian region. Narendra Publishing House, Delhi.

Lacepède, B.G.E. 1802. Histoire naturelle des poissons.

Nichols, J.T. and Pope, C.H. 1927. The fishes of Hainan. Bulletin of American Museum of Natural History 54: 321-394.

Nip, T.H.M. and Wong, C.K. 2010. Juvenile Fish Assemblages in Mangrove and Non-Mangrove Soft-Shore Habitats in Eastern Hong Kong. Zoological Studies 49(6) (in press).

Randall, J.E. and Lim, K.K.P. 2000. A checklist of the fishes of the South China Sea. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 8: 569-667.

Russell, D.J., Ryan, T.J., McDougall, A.J., Kistle, S.E. and Aland, G. 2003. Species diversity and spatial variation in fish assemblage structure of streams in connected tropical catchments in northern Australia with reference to the occurrence of translocated and exotic species. Marine and Freshwater Research 54: 813-824.

Shinnaka, T., Sano, M., Ikejima, K., Tongnunui, P., Horinouchi, M., Kurokura, H. 2007. Effects of mangrove deforestation on fish assemblage at Pak Phanang Bay, southern Thailand. Fisheries Science 73: 862?870.

Talwar, P.K. and Jhingran, A.G. 1991. Inland Fishes of India and adjacent countries. Oxford-IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi.

Tilak, R. 1972. A study of the fresh water and estuarine fishes of Goa: Notes on the fishes found within the territory of Goa. Records of Zoological Survey of India 67: 87-120.

Venkataraman, G. 1960. Studies on the food and feeding relationships of the inshore fishes of Calicut on the Malabar coast. Indian Journal of Fisheries 7: 275-306.

Vinobaba, P. 2007. Histopathological changes induced by ergasilid copepod infections on the gills of food fish from Batticaloa lagoon, Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Journal of Aquatic Science 12: 77-87.

Whitfield, A.K. and Paterson, A.W. 2003. Distribution patterns of fishes in a freshwater deprived Eastern Cape estuary, with particular emphasis on the geographical headwater region. Water SA 29(1): 61-68.

Citation: Dahanukar, N. 2011. Ambassis gymnocephalus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T172321A6867540. . Downloaded on 21 May 2018.
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