Thalassoma duperrey 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Labridae

Scientific Name: Thalassoma duperrey (Quoy & Gaimard, 1824)
Common Name(s):
English Saddle-back wrasse, Saddle wrasse
Julis caeruleocephalus Cuvier 1829
Julis caeruleocephalus Cuvier 1829
Julis clepsydralis Smith & Swain 1882
Julis clepsydralis Smith & Swain 1882
Julis duperrey Quoy & Gaimard, 1824
Julis duperrey Quoy & Gaimard, 1824
Thalassoma duperreyi (Quoy & Gaimard, 1824)
Thalassoma duperreyi (Quoy & Gaimard, 1824)
Thalassoma pyrrhovinctum Jenkins 1901
Thalassoma pyrrhovinctum Jenkins 1901

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2008-06-12
Assessor(s): Shea, S., Liu, M. & Sadovy, Y.
Reviewer(s): Craig, M.T. & Carpenter, K.E.
This species is abundant throughout the Hawaiian Archipelago. There are no known major threats for this species. Although it is occasionally targeted for marine aquarium trade in Hawaii, it does not appear to be overexploited. It is listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the Hawaiin Islands and Johnston Atoll (Randall et al. 1985, Barry and Hawryshyn 1999, Mundy 2005).
Countries occurrence:
United States; United States Minor Outlying Islands
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northwest
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):21
Upper depth limit (metres):1
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There are no data on total numbers of this fish, but this species has been noted as abundant throughout the Hawaiian Archipelago (Ross 1984).

This species hybridizes with T. lutescens at Johnston Atoll (Rocha pers. comm. 2008).

The frequency of occurrence at 44 locations in the Hawaiian Islands was 95.4% (Brainard et al. 2002). In 1993, 1994 and 1999, it was recorded as one of the top ten most dominant species numerically and with 100% occurrence in 24 sites during the surveys in Hanalei Bay, Hawaii (Jokiel and Brown 2000).

In Coconut Island, density has been recorded with 3 +/- 0.64 individuals per 300 m2. It is a dominant fish species in Kahekili reef with density varying from approximately 26.7 +/- 2.1 individuals per 250 m2 in 1994 to approximately 37.29 +/- 3.9 individuals per 250 m2 in 1997, in addition, short term total fish abundance increases up to 79.4 individuals per 50 m2 when people were feeding the fishes (Hultquist 1997).

This species is noted as an abundant species in Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park (University of Hawai’I at Manoa) and more than 7,000 individuals have been recorded within the lagoon at Midway from 1981 to 1985 (Schroeder and Parrish 2006).

Biomass of 0.293 kg per 100 m2 and mean density of 17 individuals per 100 m2 were recorded at Kure Atoll and noted as the top twenty most abundant species at Kure Atoll (Walsh et al. 2002).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is reef-associated and inhabits rocky, coral and seaward reefs (Lieske and Myers 1994) to depths of at least 21 m. It feeds mainly on benthic crustaceans. It has been reported to act as cleaner by cleaning the ectoparasites of other fishes (Randall et al. 1985).

It exhibits protogynous hermaphroditism (Ross 1984), lives in sexually integrated, overlapping home ranges and mates promiscuously rather than in a harem (Ross et al. 1983). Sex change is socially controlled , induced by the presence of smaller conspecifics and inhibited by the presence of larger conspecifics (Ross et al. 1983, Ross 1987, Ross et al. 1990).

Spawning occurs either in aggregations or pairs (Sancho et al. 2000). In 1986, Victor found that the duration of the larval phase was 89.2 days. Minimum population doubling time of this species is less than 15 months (Froese and Pauly 2008) and maximum size was recorded at 28 cm TL (Randall 1985).
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is collected for the aquarium trade.

Historical data on marine aquarium trade in Hawaii shows that small portion of Thalassoma spp. are collected for the marine aquarium trade in Hawaii (Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council 2001). However, the data combined all Thalassoma species as a group instead of Thalassoma duperrey, thus, it might be assumed that this species is taken for aquarium trade. There is no information on the level of harvest of this species for aquarium trade.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats known for this species, although it is occasionally collected for the aquarium trade.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no specific conservation measures in place for this species. Its distribution overlaps several marine protected areas within its range. At least 70% of its range lies within the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, in the northwest Hawaiian Islands.

It was observed in Papawai and Red Hill South, a fishery management area where collection of aquarium fishes has been prohibited since 1991 (Tissot and Hallacher 2003) and it is present in the Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park which is currently managed by the State of Hawaii (National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior 2008).

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
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.9. Marine Neritic - Seagrass (Submerged)
12. Marine Intertidal -> 12.2. Marine Intertidal - Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, Etc
12. Marine Intertidal -> 12.3. Marine Intertidal - Shingle and/or Pebble Shoreline and/or Beaches
13. Marine Coastal/Supratidal -> 13.1. Marine Coastal/Supratidal - Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

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

Bibliography [top]

Barry, K. and Hawryshyn, C. 1999. Spectral sensitivity of the Hawaiian Saddle wrasse, Thalassoma duperrey,/i>, and implications for visually mediated behaviour on coral reefs. Environmental Biology of Fishes 56(4): 429-442.

Brainard, R., Friedlander, A., Gulko, D., Hunter, C., Kelty, R. and Maragos, J. 2002. Status of coral reefs in the Hawaiian Archipelago. In: C. Wilkinson (ed.), Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2002, pp. 237-250. Australian Institute of Marine Sciences.

Coles, S., DeFelice, E., Eldredge, L., Carlton, J., Pyle, R. and Suzumoto, A. 1997. Biodiversity of marine communities in Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii with observations on introduced exotic species. Bishop Museum Technical Report No. 10. Final Report Prepared for the US Navy, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Eldredge, L. 1987. Coral reef alien species. In: B. Salvat (ed.), Human impacts on coral reefs: facts and recommendations, pp. 215-228. Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle et Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Moorea, French Polynesia.

Friedlander, A., Aeby, G., Brainard, R., Clark, A., DeMartini, E., Godwin, S., Kenyon, J., Kosaki, R., Maragos, J. and Vroom, P. 2005. The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the Northwestern Hawai’ian Islands. In: J. Waddell (ed.), The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States: 2005 NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 11 NOAA/NCCOS. NOAA/NCCOS Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment’s Biogeography Team, Silver Spring, MD.

Froese, R. and Pauly, D. 2008. Fishbase. World Wide Web electronic publication. Available at:, version 6/2008.

Hultquist, J. 1997. Effects of fish feeding on a coral reef. Technical report, Hawai’i Sea Grant Program. University of Hawaii – Hilo, Hilo, Hawaii.

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

Jokiel, P. and Brown, E. 2000. Hawaii coral reef initiative: coral reef assessment and monitoring program (CRAMP). Final Report 1998-99. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Springs MD.

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.

Losey, G. S., Balazs, G. H., and Privitera, L.A. 1994. Cleaning symbiosis between the wrasse, Thalassoma duperrey, and the green turtle, Chelonia mydas. Copeia 3: 684-690.

Moulton, M. and Pimm, S. 1986. Species introductions to Hawaii. In: H. Monney and J. Drake (eds), Ecology of biological invasions of North America and Hawaii, pp. 231-249. Springer-Verlag, New York.

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Randall, J.E. 1985. Guide to Hawaiian reef fishes. Harrowood Books, Newtown Square, USA.

Randall, J.E., Lobel, P.S. and Chave, E.H. 1985. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Johnston Island. Pacific Science 39(1): 24-80.

Ross, R. 1983. Annual, semilunar, and diel reproductive rhythms in the Hawaiian labrid Thalassoma duperrey. Marine Biology 72(3): 1432-1793.

Ross, R. 1987. Sex-change linked growth acceleration in a coral-reef fish, Thalassoma duperrey. The Journal of Experimental Zoology 244: 455-461.

Ross, R., Hourigan, T., Lutnesky, M. and Singh, I. 1990. Multiple simultaneous sex changes in social groups of a coral reef fish. Copeia 2: 427-433.

Ross, R., Losey, G. and Diamond, M. 1983. Sex change in a coral-reef fish: dependence of stimulation and inhibition on relative size. Science 221: 574-575.

Ross, R.M. 1984. Anatomical changes associated with sex reversal in the fish Thalassoma duperrey (Teleostei, Labridae). Copeia 1: 245-248.

Sadovy, Y. and Domeier, M. 2005. Are aggregation-fisheries sustainable? Reef fish fisheries as a case study. Coral Reefs 24: 254-262.

Sancho, G., Petersen, C.W. and Lobel, P.S. 2000. Predator-prey relations at a spawning aggregation site of coral reef fishes. Marine Ecology Progress Series 203: 275-288.

Schroeder, R. and Parrish, J. 2006. Ecological characteristics of coral patch reefs at Midwat Atoll, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 543: 439-460.

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Tissot, B. and Hallacher, L. 2003. Effects of aquarium collectors on coral reef fishes in Kona, Hawaii. Conservation Biology 17(6): 1759-1768.

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Citation: Shea, S., Liu, M. & Sadovy, Y. 2010. Thalassoma duperrey. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187711A8608670. . Downloaded on 20 June 2018.
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