Acanthurus dussumieri 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Acanthuridae

Scientific Name: Acanthurus dussumieri Valenciennes, 1835
Common Name(s):
English Eyestripe Surgeonfish, Dussumier's Surgeonfish, Hawaiian Surgeonfish, Ornate Surgeonfish, Palani, Penciled Surgeonfish, Pencilled Surgeon, Pencilled Surgeonfish
French Chirurgien à Lunettes Jaunes, Chirurgien Couronné, Chirurgien de Duss, Chirurgien de Dussumier, Picot Kanak
Spanish Navajón Coronado
Acanthurus dussumiere Valenciennes, 1835
Acanthurus dussumierri Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1835
Acanthurus lamarrii Valenciennes, 1835
Acanthurus undulatus Valenciennes, 1835
Hepatus dussumieri (Valenciennes, 1835)
Rhombotides dussumieri (Valenciennes, 1835)
Rhombotides lamarrii (Valenciennes, 1835)
Teuthis dussumieri (Valenciennes, 1835)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2010-05-03
Assessor(s): Choat, J.H., McIlwain, J., Abesamis, R., Clements, K.D., Myers, R., Nanola, C., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B. & Stockwell, B.
Reviewer(s): Davidson, L., Edgar, G. & Kulbicki, M.
Acanthurus dussumieri is widespread throughout the Indo-Pacific. It is uncommon in some parts of its range. Although heavily fished in some areas (e.g., Hawaii), there is no evidence of global population declines. It has a wide habitat range and is found in inter-reefal depths down to 131 m, thus provided with refuge. Its distribution encompasses a number of marine protected areas. Given this species' wide distributional and habitat range and occurrence in marine reserves, it is therefore listed as Least Concern.


Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Acanthurus dussumieri is found from the eastern coast of Africa to the southern Arabian Peninsula, northwards to southern Japan, southwards to New South Wales, Australia, and eastwards to New Caledonia, Guam and Hawaii. This species is not recorded from eastern Micronesia or most parts of the Central Pacific (R. Myers pers. comm. 2010).
Countries occurrence:
Australia; British Indian Ocean Territory (Chagos Archipelago); Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; China; Christmas Island; Comoros; Cook Islands; Disputed Territory (Paracel Is., Spratly Is.); Djibouti; Fiji; French Southern Territories (Mozambique Channel Is.); Guam; Hong Kong; India; Indonesia; Japan; Kenya; Kiribati (Kiribati Line Is.); Macao; Madagascar; Malaysia; Maldives; Mauritius (Mauritius (main island), Rodrigues); Mayotte; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Mozambique; New Caledonia; New Zealand; Niue; Norfolk Island; Northern Mariana Islands; Oman; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Réunion; Seychelles; Singapore; Solomon Islands; Somalia; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Timor-Leste; Tonga; United States (Hawaiian Is.); United States Minor Outlying Islands; Vanuatu; Viet Nam; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – southeast; Indian Ocean – western; Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):131
Upper depth limit (metres):4
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Acanthurus dussumieri was recorded as occasional in terms of relative abundance in Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea (Allen 2003). It is uncommon from survey data in Guam and rare in the Guam and Saipan fishery (DAWR and P. Houk unpub. data). This species makes up 35% of acanthurid fishery in Hawaii at 11,200 kg in 2007. Catch has declined from 16,000 kg in 1997 but there is no corresponding effort data (DAR unpub. data).
This species is collected as an aquarium fish in West Hawaii. The total number of individuals caught from FY 2005-2009 was 2,363 with a total value of $3,753 (Walsh et al. 2010). A. dussumieri is uncommon to rare in the Philippines (R. Abesamis, B. Stockwell and C. Nanola pers. comm. 2010).

In Kenya, landings during 1978-1982 for families that are less important in commercial catches (e.g., scarinae and Acanthuridae) showed rising catches (1978-1984) followed by a general decline during the 1990s, but the landings for the scarinae showed a rising trend in recent years (Kaunda-Arara et al. 2003).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Acanthurus dussumieri is generally found on seaward reefs, usually at depths greater than 10 m. Submarine observations in Hawaii to 131 m (Chave and Mundy 1994). It is usually seen as a solitary fish but may also occur in small groups. It feeds on detritus and sediment (Choat et al. 2004). It is classified as a grazer/detritivore (Choat and Bellwood pers. obs. in 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). It is reported as a pair spawner (Randall 2001b).  Maximum age recorded from the Great Barrier Reef is at 28 years (Choat and Robertson 2002).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Acanthurus dussumieri is caught incidentally in many localities. It is one of the most commonly consumed species on Brooker Is., Papua New Guinea (Allen et al. 2003). It is taken mainly by traps. This species is the most landed Acanthurid species in the Hawaii commercial fishery (DAR unpub. data). It is occasionally seen in markets. It is also a component of the aquarium trade. Online prices range from $79.99-$799.95 based on size (L. Rocha pers. comm. 2010).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Acanthurus dussumieri is a targeted food fish in parts of its range. It is the most landed Acanthurid species in the Hawaii commercial fishery. In parts of its distribution (e.g., Coral Triangle), it is harvested in areas with known occurrence of illegal fishing practices.

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. In Queensland, Australia, there is a recreational catch limit of five per species and a minimum size limit of 25 cm (Department of Primary Industries accessed 8 April 2010).

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 -> 9.8.2. Back Slope
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.3. Foreslope (Outer Reef Slope)
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.4. Lagoon
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.5. Inter-Reef Soft Substrate
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.6. Inter-Reef Rubble Substrate

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
  Harvest management plan:Yes
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.1. Intentional use: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.2. Harvest level trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 International : ✓ 

♦  Sport hunting/specimen collecting
 Local : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Allen, G.R. 2003. Appendix 5. List of the reef fishes of Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. In: Allen, G. R., J. P. Kinch, S. A. McKenna, and P. Seeto (eds), A Rapid Marine Biodiversity Assessment of Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea–Survey II (2000), pp. 172. Conservation International, Washington, DC, USA.

Allen, M., Kinch, J. and Werner, T. 2003. Living Coral Reef Resources of Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. In: G. R. Allen, J. P. Kinch, S. A. McKenna, and P. Seeto (eds), A Rapid Marine Biodiversity Assessment of Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea–Survey II (2000), pp. 172. Conservation International, Washington, DC, USA.

Chave, E.H. and Mundy, B.C. 1994. Deep-sea benthic fish of the Hawaiian Archipelago, Cross Seamount, and Johnston Atoll. Pacific Science 48: 367-409.

Choat, J.H. and Robertson, D.R. 2002a. Age-based studies on coral reef fishes. In: P.F. Sale (ed.), Coral reef fishes: dynamics and diversity in a complex ecosystem, pp. 57-80. Academic Press, Burlington, San Diego and London.

Choat, J.H., Robbins, W.D. and Clements, K.D. 2004. The trophic status of herbivorous fishes on coral reefs. Marine Biology 145: 445-454.

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

Department of Primary Industries - Queensland Government. 2010. Surgeonfishes. Available at: (Accessed: 8 April).

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).

Kaunda-Arara, B., Rose, G.A., Muchiri, M.S. and Kaka, R. 2003. Long-term Trends in Coral Reef Fish Yields and Exploitation Rates of Commercial Species from Coastal Kenya. Western Indian Ocean Journal of Marine Science 2(2): 105-116.

Randall, J.E. 2001b. Acanthuridae. Surgeonfishes (tangs, unicornfishes). In: K.E. Carpenter and V. Niem (eds), The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. Vol. 6. Bony fishes part 4 (Labridae to Latimeriidae), estuarine crocodiles, pp. 3653-3683. FAO, Rome.

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.

Citation: Choat, J.H., McIlwain, J., Abesamis, R., Clements, K.D., Myers, R., Nanola, C., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B. & Stockwell, B. 2012. Acanthurus dussumieri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T177981A1510126. . Downloaded on 17 July 2018.
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