Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Acanthuridae

Scientific Name: Acanthurus reversus
Species Authority: Randall & Earle, 1999
Common Name(s):
English Marquesan Surgeonfish

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2010-05-04
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): McClenachan, L., Edgar, G. & Kulbicki, M.
Acanthurus reversus is restricted to the Marquesas (and possibly also the Tuamotus). It is common and abundant at inshore sites and is found in all 10 major islands in the Marquesas. The reef area is estimated to be at least 100,000 km2. The population in Marquesas is estimated to be less than 10,000 people (, accessed 4 May 2010). It is not targeted in any fishery and is caught incidentally for food.  There are no major threats known and its distribution overlaps with Motu One reserve. It is therefore listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Acanthurus reversus is endemic to the Marquesas Islands; a single additional record from Takaroa Atoll in the Tuamotos is probably a vagrant (Randall 2001a).
Countries occurrence:
French Polynesia (Marquesas)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – eastern central
Lower depth limit (metres):25
Upper depth limit (metres):4
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Acanthurus reversus is common and locally abundant.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Acanthurus reversus occurs on inshore reefs where it is common. It is found solitarily or in small groups.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Acanthurus reversus is incidentally caught for food.

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, Motu One reserve in the northern Marquesan islands, established in 1992, encompasses the whole of the island and reef system of Motu One (Pacific Biodiversity Information Forum accessed 23 September 2010).

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.2. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs
suitability: Suitable  
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.3. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel
suitability: Suitable  
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.3. Foreslope (Outer Reef Slope)
suitability: Suitable  
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.6. Inter-Reef Rubble Substrate
suitability: Suitable  

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
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

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).

Pacific Biodiversity Information Forum. 2010. Pacific Protected Areas Database Results. Available at: (Accessed: 23 September).

Polynesian Cultural Center. 2010. Marquesas Exhibit: Population. Available at: (Accessed: 4 May).

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

Randall, J.E. and Earle, J.L. 1999. Acantharus reversus, a new species of surgeonfish (Perciformes: Acanthuridae) from the Marquesas Islands. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 51(14): 473-481.

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: Abesamis, R., Clements, K.D., Choat, J.H., McIlwain, J., Myers, R., Nanola, C., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B. & Stockwell, B. 2012. Acanthurus reversus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T177976A1508812. . Downloaded on 13 October 2015.
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