Albula esuncula


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Albula esuncula
Species Authority: (Garman, 1899)
Common Name(s):
English Eastern Pacific Bonefish
Albula esunculus (Garman, 1899)
Atopichthys esunculus Garman, 1899
Taxonomic Notes: Frequently misidentified as Albula vulpes, an Atlantic species. It has also been previously identified as A. neoguinaica (a synonym of the Indo-central Pacific species A. forsteri). However, genetic data indicate the eastern Pacific form is a separate species (Colborn et al. 2001), for which A. esuncula is the oldest name. There is recent genetic evidence that this species may in fact represent two species: Albula esuncula from south of Mazatlan, Mexico, and a yet to be named Albula species from Southern California to Mazatlan (Pfeiler et al. 2008).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2008-05-01
Assessor(s): Nielsen, J.G., Monroe, T., Iwamoto, T., Harrison, I., Eschmeyer, W., Smith-Vaniz, B., Robertson, R., Collette, B., Tyler, J., Dominici-Arosemena, A.,Bussing, W., Lopez, M., Molina, H., Salas, E., Sierra, L. & Viquez, R.
Reviewer(s): Carpenter, K., Polidoro, B. & Livingstone, S. (Global Marine Species Assessment Team)
This species is widespread in the tropical eastern Pacific region. Although there is no population information available, there are no known threats that may contribute to population decline. More research is recommended as this species has recently been distinguished genetically from a Caribbean species. This species is listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is present in the eastern Pacific from southern California to Peru, including the Galapagos archipelago.
Chile; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Peru; United States
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – southeast
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There is no population information available for this species. It is common in many parts of its range.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This demersal species inhabits estuaries, beaches, sand and gravel to depths of 10m. It is a carnivorous fish and its diet includes mobile benthic worms, crustaceans, gastropods and bivalves, and bony fishes.This species could be very widely spread oceanically due to the dispersal larval stage (leptocephalus). There is no appropriate life history information available for this species as it has recently been found to be genetically different from A. vulpes in the Atlantic.
Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is fished for sport fishing and recreation. Also may be used for human food in some places.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no known threats to this species. However, this species is caught in recreational fisheries (mostly catch and release).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known conservation measures for this species. However, this species' distribution includes a number of Marine Protected Areas in the tropical eastern Pacific region.

Research is required to determine the extend of the range of this species as it is has recently been shown to be a separate species from a Caribbean species. Also, more research is needed on its population status, and the impact of recreational fishing activities.

Bibliography [top]

Colborn, J., Crabtree, R.E., Shakee, J.B., Pfeiler, E. and Bowen, B.W. 2001. The evolutionary enigma of bonefishes (Albula spp.): crytic species and ancient separations in a globally-distributed shorefish. Evolution 55: 807-820.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.3). Available at: (Accessed: 2 September 2010).

Pfeiler, E., Bitler, B.G., Ulloa, R., van der Heiden, A.M. and Hastings, P.A. 2008. Molecular Identification of the Bonefish Albula esuncula (Albuliformes: Albulidae) from the Tropical Eastern Pacific, with Comments on Distribution and Morphology. Copeia 4: 763-770.

Robertson, D.R. and Allen, G.R. 2006. Shore fishes of the tropical eastern Pacific: an information system. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa, Panamá.

World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA). 2006. A database online managed by UNEP-WCMC/ IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA). Available at:

Citation: Nielsen, J.G., Monroe, T., Iwamoto, T., Harrison, I., Eschmeyer, W., Smith-Vaniz, B., Robertson, R., Collette, B., Tyler, J., Dominici-Arosemena, A.,Bussing, W., Lopez, M., Molina, H., Salas, E., Sierra, L. & Viquez, R. 2010. Albula esuncula. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 03 September 2015.
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