Anampses elegans 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Labridae

Scientific Name: Anampses elegans Ogilby, 1889
Common Name(s):
English Elegant Wrasse
Anampses variolatus Ogilby, 1889
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N. (ed.). 2015. Catalog of Fishes. Updated 7 January 2015. Available at: (Accessed: 7 January 2015).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-02-23
Assessor(s): Choat, J.H., Pollard, D. & Myers, R.
Reviewer(s): Sadovy, Y. & Carpenter, K.E.
This species is relatively widespread in sub-tropical to warm temperate areas of the south-western Pacific, at least in eastern Australia and New Zealand, and particularly around their associated offshore islands, in which areas its populations have shown no signs of any declines. As there are few or no major threats to its populations, this species is listed as Least Concern globally. This species was originally assessed as being Lower Risk (least concern) for the Australian region by Pogonoski et al. (2002).

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This sub tropical to warm temperate species is known from the south-western Pacific Ocean, in southern Queensland, the (mainly northern) mainland coastline of New South Wales, Lord Howe Island, Middleton and Elizabeth Reefs, Norfolk Island (Australia), the Kermadec Islands and the north-eastern mainland coastline of the north island in New Zealand (Gill and Reader 1992). It may occur in New Caledonia, and also at Rapa, Mangareva, Pitcairn and Easter Islands in the south Pacific Ocean (Lieske and Myers 1994). Records from other areas in the south and south-eastern Pacific are probably erroneous.
Countries occurrence:
Australia; New Zealand; Norfolk Island
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):35
Upper depth limit (metres):2
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Populations of this species are less abundant in mainland coastal compared with offshore island waters, at least in south-eastern Australia. It is rare in most locations though it is common at Lord Howe Island, where it is found mainly in shallow fringing reef lagoonal waters (Randall 1974, Coleman 1981), and also at Middleton and Elizabeth Reefs, where it occurs within the lagoons around reefs and over rubble (Gill and Reader 1992). In northern New Zealand it occurs at densities of less than two individuals per 500 m2 of habitat (Choat et al. 1988). Parker (1999) found it to be relatively uncommon in deeper waters (15-24m) off the Julian Rocks in northern New South Wales.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species generally occurs in island and coastal waters around rocky and coral reefs. Juveniles may be found in small schools amongst algae in coastal bays and harbours, with larger juveniles occurring in small aggregations on coastal reefs and adults often in deeper waters (Coleman 1981, Kuiter 1993). It is more likely to be encountered around offshore reefs and islands than mainland coastlines.

This carnivorous species feeds mainly on crustaceans, molluscs and worms (Ayling and Cox 1982). It has pronounced sexual colour dimorphism, is probably a protogynous hermaphrodite, and the terminal males are territorial (Ayling and Cox 1982, Lieske and Myers 1994). Sexual ontogeny is unknown, but there are striking differences in colour patterns.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species may occasionally be used locally as food, and it is probably also taken as an aquarium display species.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no known major threats to this species, though specimens may occasionally be captured for the aquarium trade.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species specific conservation measures in place except in New South Wales (south-eastern Australia), where it is a protected species. However, it is well protected within a number of Marine Protected Areas within its distribution, at least in Australia.

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
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.7. Marine Neritic - Macroalgal/Kelp

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 National : ✓  International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Ayling, T. and Cox, G.J. 1982. Collins' guide to sea fishes of New Zealand. Collins, Auckland, New Zealand.

Choat, J.H., Ayling, A.M. and Schiel, D.R. 1988. Temporal and spatial variation in an island fish fauna. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 121: 91-111.

Coleman, N. 1981. Australian sea fishes north of 30° South. DoubleDay, Sydney, Australia.

Francis, M.P., Grace, R.V. and Paulin, C.D. 1987. Coastal fishes of the Kermadec Islands. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Resources 21(1): 1-13.

Gill, A.C. and Reader, S.E. 1992. Reef biology : a survey of Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, South Pacific / The Australian Museum, Sydney. Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, Canberra.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.4). Available at: (Accessed: 27 October 2010).

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal fishes of south-eastern Australia. Crawford House Press Pty Ltd., Australia.

Lieske, E. and Myers, R.F. 1994. Collins Pocket Guide. Coral reef fishes. Indo-Pacific and Caribbean including the Red Sea. Harper Collins Publishers, New York, USA.

Parker, P.G. 1999. Fish assemblages at Julian Rocks and the adjacent waters of northern New South Wales, Australia. Australian Zoologist 31(1): 134-160.

Pogonoski, J.J., Pollard, D.A. and Paxton, J.R. 2002. Conservation overview and action plan for Australian threatened and potentially threatened marine and estuarine fishes. Environment Australia, Canberra, Australia.

Randall, J.E. 1974. Notes and color illustrations of labrid fishes of the genus Anampses. Japanese Society of Ichthyology 21: 10-16.

Citation: Choat, J.H., Pollard, D. & Myers, R. 2010. Anampses elegans. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187453A8539515. . Downloaded on 22 June 2018.
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