Scarus trispinosus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Labridae

Scientific Name: Scarus trispinosus Valenciennes, 1840
Common Name(s):
English Greenback Parrotfish
Sparisoma trispinosus (Valenciennes, 1840)
Taxonomic Notes: Westneat and Alfaro (2005) recognize the Scarini as a tribe within the family Labridae. The genera Chlororus and Scarus are two distinct monophyletic lineages (Smith et al. 2008).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2d ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2008-06-13
Assessor(s): Padovani-Ferreira, B., Floeter, S., Rocha, L.A., Ferreira, C.E., Francini-Filho, R., Moura, R., Gaspar, A.L. & Feitosa, C.
Reviewer(s): McIlwain, J. & Craig, M.T.
This species is endemic to Brazil, and is common in some parts of its range especially in protected areas. However, the vast majority of this species population and habitat type occur outside of protected areas with no-take zones. Outside of no-take zones, this species is heavily fished with a variety of gears. Based on measured declines in several locations, this species global population is estimated to have declined by at least 50% over the past 20 to 30 years (three generation lengths). If conservation measures are not implemented, this decline is expected to continue. It is listed as Endangered under Criterion A2d.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to Brazil and is found from Manoel Luiz Reefs on the northern Brazilian coast, to Santa Catarina on the southeastern Brazilian coast. It is absent from the oceanic islands.
Countries occurrence:
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – southwest
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):45
Upper depth limit (metres):1
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In 1996–1998, this species was the second most abundant species in Manoel Luis State Marine Park; it was present in 69% of underwater visual census (UVC) samples and had a mean length of 30 cm (Rocha and Rosa 2001). On the Abrolhos Bank, the largest coral reef area in the south Atlantic, this species represents 28% of total fish biomass, and has shown 50% decline in the past five years (Francini-Filho 2005, Francini-Filho and Moura 2008).

In the southeastern part of its range (Arraial do Cabo), the biomass has declined by 60–70% over the last 15 years based on UVC and fishermen interviews (B. Ferreira pers comm. 2008). Scarus trispinosus densities obtained with UVC (n=418 summer months at six areas) in shallow rocky reefs of less than 10 m depth in southeastern Brazil had a mean value of 0.00018/m² (A. Bertoncini pers comm. 2008). In the northeast of Brazil in Baixo-sul baiano, an UVC (n=713 at five reef areas) in shallow reefs from 10 to 25 m depth revealed mean density values of 0.0018/m² (A. Bertoncini and C. Sampaio pers comm. 2008).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is reef-associated and occurs in seagrass, coral reef, algal and rocky reefs and on algal beds at depths of one to 45 m. It exhibits a functional role in substrate use because it is an important excavator that often feeds on live coral.

There is no direct information on its life history to estimate generation length. However, based on sister species S. guacamaia, a generation of 7 to 10 years can be inferred.
Generation Length (years):7-10

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is caught throughout its range, and by large-scale fisheries in Bahia. In 2002, in the heavily fished reefs in Tamandaré (Pernambuco State) the average size of capture was 38 cm, and maximum size recorded was 45 cm nearly half the recorded maximum size of 70 cm (B. Ferreira pers. comm. 2008)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is threatened by spearfishing throughout its range and also by net and trap fishing. Based on measured declines in at least two signicant parts of its range (Abrolhos Bank and the Arraial do Cabo), along with observations that large individuals have become very rare, it is estimated that at least 50% of the global population has declined over the past 20 to 30 years.

Parrotfishes show varying degrees of habitat preference and utilization of coral reef habitats, with some species spending the majority of their life stages on coral reefs, while others primarily utilize seagrass beds, mangroves, algal beds, and /or rocky reefs. Although the majority of the parrotfishes occur in mixed habitat (primarily inhabiting seagrass beds, mangroves, and rocky reefs) approximately 78% of these mixed habitat species are experiencing greater than 30% loss of coral reef area and habitat quality across their distributions. Of those species that occur exclusively in coral reef habitat, more than 80% are experiencing a greater than 30% of coral reef loss and degradation across their distributions. However, more research is needed to understand the long-term effects of habitat loss and degradation on these species populations.   Widespread coral reef loss and declining habitat conditions are particularly worrying for species that depend on live coral reefs for food and shelter 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. Furthermore, coral reef loss and declining habitat conditions are particularly worrying for some corallivorous excavating parrotfishes that play major roles in reef dynamics and sedimentation (Comeros-Raynal et al. 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures for this species. Significant differences can be seen in this species abundance inside and outside protected no fishing areas (Ferreira and Maida 2006). For example, in a study of this species in a no-take zone, it was abundant and recovered within 3-4 years from previous levels when fishing was allowed (Francini-Filho and Moura 2008).

A few populations are currently protected by reserves by no-take reserves along the coast, including some reefs in Abrolhos, in Costa dos Corais, and others where there is effective enforcement. However, the number of protected areas within its range does not include a large porportion of this species population or habitat.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.2. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.7. Marine Neritic - Macroalgal/Kelp
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.9. Marine Neritic - Seagrass (Submerged)

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
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

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

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

Feitoza, B.M. 2001. Composição e estrutura da comunidade de peixes recifais da Risca do Zumbi, Rio Grande do Norte. Universidade Federal da Paraíba, João Pessoa.

Ferreira, B.P. and Cava, F. 2001. Ictiofauna marinha da APA Costa dos Corais: Lista de espécies através de levantamento da pesca e observações subaquáticas. Boletim Técnico Científico do CEPENE 9(1): 167-180.

Ferreira, B.P. and Maida, M. 2006. Monitoramento dos recifes de coral do Brasil: situação atual e perspectivas. Brasília, Brazil.

Ferreira, C.E.L. 2006. The status of target reef fishes. In: G.F. Dutra, G.R. Allen, T. Werner and S.A. McKenna (eds), A Rapid Marine Biodiversity Assessment of the Abrolhos Bank, Bahia, Brazil, pp. 55-56. Conservation International, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

Ferreira, C.E.L. and Gonçalves, E.A. 2006. Community structure and diet of roving herbivorous reef fishes in the Abrolhos Archipelago, south-western Atlantic. Journal of Fish Biology 69(5): 1533-1551.

Ferreira, C.E.L. and Goncalves, J.E.A. 1999. The unique Abrolhos reef formation (Brazil): need for specific management strategies. Coral Reefs 18(4): 352.

Ferreira, C.E.L., Floeter, S.R., Gasparini, J.L., Ferreira, B.P. and Joyeux, J.-C. 2004. Trophic structure patterns of Brazilian reef fishes: a latitudinal comparison. Journal of Biogeography 31: 1093-1106.

Ferreira, C.E.L., Gonçalves, J.E.A. and Coutinho, R. 2001. Community structure of fishes and habitat complexity on a tropical rocky shore. Environmental Biology of Fishes 61: 353-369.

Floeter, S.R., Ferreira, C.E.L. and Gasparini, J.L. 2007. The Effects of Fishing and Protection through Marine Protection Areas: Three Case Studies and Implications to Reef Fish Functional Groups in Brazil. MMA - Serie Áreas Protegidas do Brasil. Areas Aquaticas Protegidas como Instrumento de Gestao Pesqueira, pp. 183-199. MMA, Brasília, Brazil.

Floeter, S.R., Halpern, B.S. and Ferreira, C.E.L. 2006. Effects of fishing and protection on Brazilian reefs. Biological Conservation 128: 391-402.

Francini-Filho, R.B. and Moura, R.L. 2008. Dynamics of fish assemblages on coral reefs subjected to different management regimes in the Abrolhos Bank, eastern Brazil. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 18(7): 1166-1179.

Francini-Filho, R.B., Moura, R.L., Ferreira, C.M. and Coni, E.O.C. 2008. Live coral predation by parrotfishes (Perciformes:Scaridae) in the Abrolhos Bank, eastern Brazil, with comments on the classification of species into functional groups. Neotropical Ichthyology 6(2): 191-200.

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

Moura, R.L. and Francini-Filho, R.B. 2006. Reef and shore fishes of the Abrolhos Region, Brazil. In: G.F. Dutra, G.R. Allen, T. Werner and S.A. McKenna (eds), A Rapid Marine Biodiversity Assessment of the Abrolhos Bank, Bahia, Brazil, pp. 40-55. Conservation International, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

Moura, R.L., de Figueiredo, J.L. and Sazima, I. 2001. A new parrotfish (Scaridae) from Brazil, and revalidation of Sparisoma amplum (Ranzani, 1842), Sparisoma frondosum (Agassiz, 1831), Sparisoma axillare (Steindachner, 1878) and Scarus trispinosus Valenciennes, 1840. Bulletin of Marine Science 68(3): 505-524.

Rocha, L.A. and Rosa, I.L. 2001. Baseline assessment of reef fish assemblages of Parcel Manuel Luiz Marine State park, Maranhão, north-east Brazil. Journal of Fish Biology 58(4): 985-998.

Westneat, M. W. and Alfaro, M.E. 2005. Phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary history of the reef fish family Labridae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 36: 370–390.

Citation: Padovani-Ferreira, B., Floeter, S., Rocha, L.A., Ferreira, C.E., Francini-Filho, R., Moura, R., Gaspar, A.L. & Feitosa, C. 2012. Scarus trispinosus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T190748A17786694. . Downloaded on 19 July 2018.
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