Acanthurus monroviae 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Acanthuridae

Scientific Name: Acanthurus monroviae Steindachner, 1876
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Monrovia Surgeonfish
French Chirurgien Chas-chas, Docteur
Spanish Cirujano, Navajón, Navajón Caniveta, Navajón Canivete
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N. (ed.). 2015. Catalog of Fishes. Updated 5 March 2015. Available at: (Accessed: 5 March 2015).

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): Davidson, L., Edgar, G. & Kulbicki, M.
Acanthurus monroviae is widely distributed in the Eastern Atlantic. Even though this species is a component of  the aquarium trade, there is no indication of population declines caused by harvesting. It occurs in a few marine protected areas in parts of its range. It is therefore listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Acanthurus monroviae is found from southern Morocco to Angola, including the Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands, and Gulf of Guinea. It was also recorded from the coast of Algeria - individuals found here are believed to be part of a continuous, sparse population occurring along the coast of North Africa (Hemida et al. 2004). Vagrants were reported from the western Mediterranean, off the Spanish coast (Crespo et al. 1987), and in the eastern Mediterranean on the coast of Israel (Golani and Sonin 1996). Vagrants were also reported from the south-eastern coast of Sao Paulo, Brazil (Luiz-Junior et al. 2004).
Countries occurrence:
Algeria; Angola; Benin; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Equatorial Guinea; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Liberia; Mauritania; Morocco; Namibia; Nigeria; Sao Tomé and Principe (Principe, Sâo Tomé); Senegal; Sierra Leone; Togo; Western Sahara
Brazil; Israel; Spain (Canary Is. - Native)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – southeast; Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – eastern central; Mediterranean and Black Sea
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):200
Upper depth limit (metres):5
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Acanthurus monroviae is common along the eastern tropical Atlantic shore (Randall 1981). Trawl surveys in the Eastern Central Atlantic during April 1990 reported that A. monroviae accounted for 2.2% of the total catch in Ghana (20-50 m depth) and  7.6% of the total catch in Western Sierra Leone (20-50 m depth) (Martos et al. 1991).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Acanthurus monroviae is restricted to areas of hard bottom. It is found in rocky and coral bottoms (Schneider 1990) including lagoons and river mouths (Desoutter 1986). It is usually found between 2-20 m. The record of 200 m is unconfirmed. It feeds on zooplankton, phytoplankton and detritus (Diouf 1996).  It is normally solitary; in south-east Brazil it was seen joining a school of Acanthurus chirurgus (Bloch) and feeding together with the members of this group (Luiz-Junior et al. 2004). 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 monroviae is a component of the aquarium trade. It sells for US $199.95 to $299.95 depending on size. It is collected most commonly from Southern Morocco down to Nigeria, including Cape Verde (, accessed 13 April 2010). It is landed in commercial fisheries in Senegal (N'Dao 1997).

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 a few marine protected areas in parts of its range.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.2. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.3. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel

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
3. Monitoring -> 3.2. Harvest level trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top] 2010. Monrovia Surgeonfish. Available at: (Accessed: 13 April).

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

Crespo, J., Rey, J.C. and Garcia, A. 1987. Primera cita de Acanthurus monroviae Steindachner, 1876 y de Diodon eydouxii Brissout de Barneville, 1846 para la ichthyofauna de Europa. Miscellania Zoologica 11: 271–275.

Desoutter, M. 1986. Acanthuridae. In: P. J. P. Whitehead, M.L. Bauchot, J.C. Hureau, J. Nielsen and E. Tortonese (eds), Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, pp. 262–263. UNESCO, Paris.

Diouf, P.S. 1996. Les peuplements de poissons des milieux estuariens de l'Afrique de l'Ouest: L'exemple de l'estuaire hyperhalin du Sine-Saloum. Université de Montpellier II.

Golani, D. and Sonin, O. 1996. The occurrence of the tropical west African marine fishes Acanthurus monroviae (Acanthuridae) and Arius parkii (Ariidae) in the Levant. Aqua, Journal of Ichthyology and Aquatic Biology 2: 1–3.

Hemida, F., Diatta, Y., Golani, D., Ben Souissi, J., Guelorget, O. and Capape, C. 2004. On the occurrence of the Monrovian surgeonfish, Acanthurus monroviae Steindachner, 1876 (Osteichthyes: Acanthuridae) off the coast of Algeria (southern Mediterranean). Acta Adriatica 45(2): 181-185.

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

Luiz-Júnior, O.J., Floeter, S.R., Gasparini, J.L., Ferreira, C.E.L. and Wirtz, P. 2004. The occurrence of Acanthurus monroviae (Perciformes: Acanthuridae) in the south-western Atlantic, with comments on other eastern Atlantic reef fishes occurring in Brazil. Journal of Fish Biology 65: 1173-1179.

Martos, A.R., Yraola, I.S., Peralta, L.F. and Jiminez, J.F.G. 1991. The "Guinea 90" Survey. CECAF/ECAF SERIES 91/52. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.

N'Dao, M. 1997. Observations sur les Débarquements de Poissons Téléostéens Effectués au Site de Soumbédioune (Sénégal, Atlantique Oriental Tropical). Univ. Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar.

Randall, J.E. 1981. Acanthuridae. In: W. Fischer, G. Bianchi and W.B. Scott (eds), FAO Species Identification Sheets for Fishery Purposes. Eastern Central Atlantic; Fishing Areas 34, 47 (in part), pp. pag. var.. Canada Funds-in-Trust by arrangement with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Ottawa, Canada and Rome, Italy.

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.

Schneider, W. 1990. Field guide to the commercial marine resources of the Gulf of Guinea. FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO); Prepared and published with the support of the FAO Regional Office for Africa (RAFR), Rome, Italy.

Citation: Abesamis, R., Clements, K.D., Choat, J.H., McIlwain, J., Myers, R., Nanola, C., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B. & Stockwell, B. 2012. Acanthurus monroviae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T178023A1524335. . Downloaded on 25 September 2018.
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