Albula argentea 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Albuliformes Albulidae

Scientific Name: Albula argentea (Forster, 1801)
Albula erythrocheilos Valenciennes, 1847
Albula forsteri Valenciennes, 1847
Albula neoguinaica Valenciennes, 1847
Esox argenteus Forster, 1801
Synodus argenteus Schneider, 1801
Taxonomic Source(s): 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.
Taxonomic Notes: The nomenclature of the bonefish family Albulidae is currently in a state of revision. Until recently, bonefish were considered to be comprised of two species, the circumglobal Albula vulpes and the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific Albula nemoptera; however, new molecular genetic information indicates that there are at least eight morphologically indistinguishable, but genetically distinct species (Colborn et al. 2001). Wallace and Tringali (2010) have recently found nine distinct species. Randall and Bauchot (1999) make a compelling argument that A. neoguinaica is a junior synonym of A. forsteri. Colborn et al. (2001) do not list A. forsteri;  this species is referred to as A. neoguinaica. Eschmeyer currently lists A. forsteri and A. neoguinaica as synonyms of Albula argentea (Forster 1801).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2011-03-29
Assessor(s): Adams, A., Guindon, K., Horodysky, A., MacDonald, T., McBride, R., Shenker, J. & Ward, R.
Reviewer(s): Harwell, H. & Raynal, M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Harwell, H.
This species has a wide range throughout the Indo-Pacific. Given recent taxonomic changes, there is very little known about the life history, ecology, population status, or threats acting upon this species. Therefore, it is listed as Data Deficient.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species has been reported from Hawaii, Fiji and the Northern Territory of Australia (Colborn et al. 2001, referred to as A. neoguinaica). Eschmeyer lists the range as Indo-West Pacific, including Western Australia east to Fiji and French Polynesia and the Hawaiian Islands (Eschmeyer 2010). It has also been reported from Madagascar and Japan.
Countries occurrence:
Australia; Fiji; French Polynesia; Indonesia; Japan; Madagascar; New Caledonia; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Sri Lanka; Taiwan, Province of China; United States (Hawaiian Is.)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):90
Upper depth limit (metres):2
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:As multiple species within the genus are morphologically indistinguishable, there is limited species-specific information available on population status. It is possible that A. argentea (referred to as A. forsteri) occurs at low frequency at Palmyra Atoll. It is present in Hawaii but possibly occurs in small numbers or occupies unsurveyed habitats (Friedlander et al. 2008). Commercial landings of bonefish in Hawaii have declined from over 136.4 mt in 1900 to only 1.2 mt in 2001. This figure, however, includes all bonefish species in Hawaii (Friedlander et al. 2008). Capture of recruits (CPUE) of Albula spp. in Kahana, Hawaii was highest in 1999 and has declined by 79% since that time (Friedlander et al. 2008).

A survey from the Fisheries Division of Kiribati conducted in 1995 shows that bonefish was the second-most common species caught, accounting for 7% of total catch. Gill nets caught 82% of the bonefish, with handlines providing the remainder (18%) of the catch (Friedlander et al. 2008). In Tarawa Lagoon, Kiribati, recent studies have demonstrated significant declines in abundance and average size of bonefish in the catch between 1977 and the late 1990s. The annual take of bonefish from Tarawa Lagoon is between 1,000,000 and 5,000,000 fish per year, but no stock assessment has been conducted (Friedlander et al. 2008). According to Beets (2000), this fishery may actually represent A. glossodonta.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Research in Hawaii suggests that adults of this species appear to utilize deeper habitats than A. glossodonta but juvenile bonefish found along sandy beaches within the range are primarily A. argentea (previously known as A. forsteri). Larvae of A. argentea are morphologically indistinguishable from A. glossodonta (Friedlander et al. 2008). Shaklee and Tamaru (1981) report catching juveniles of this species and A. glossodonta in the same habitat of Hawaii. No additional information exists on the habitat and ecology of this species. The maximum size recorded for this species is 70 cm (TL) (Randall 1995).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Bonefishes are targeted by commercial, recreational, and subsistence fishers throughout the Pacific. A. argentea (previously referred to as A. forsteri) may comprise a portion of the harvest in mixed bonefish species fisheries in Kiribati, Hawaii and Fiji; however, the proportion is unknown. Subsistence fishing for bonefish in locations such as Tarawa consists of one of the most important protein sources for the island's human population (Friedlander et al. 2008).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Commercial landings of bonefish in Hawaii have decreased dramatically over the past few decades, presumably because of over fishing and loss of habitat, from over 300,000 lbs in 1900 to less than 3,000 lbs since 2002. The composition of the fishery is unknown; at present the assumption is that A. glossodonta is the primary species but this have not been genetically verified.  

Heavy fishing pressure and degradation of habitats at Tarawa and Kiritimati Atolls have resulted in the loss of pre-spawning staging sites and spawning migration routes, which may be responsible for the observed declines in bonefish catches, average size, and sex ratios at these locations (Friedlander et al. 2008).

Additional threats to this species are unknown.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation actions in place. However, it likely occurs in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in parts of its range.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.4. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Sandy

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
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

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.3. Other ecosystem modifications
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.2. Harvest level trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.3. Trade trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.4. Habitat trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓   National : ✓  International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Beets. J. 2000. Declines in finfish resources in Tarawa Lagoon, Kiribati, emphasize the need for increased conservation effort. Atoll Research Bulletin 490: 1-16.

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.

Eschmeyer, W.N. 2012. Catalog of Fishes electronic version (15 March 2012). Available at: (Accessed: 7 June 2012).

Friedlander, A.M., Caselle, J.E., Beets, J., Lowe, C.G., Bowen, B.W., Ogawa, T.K., Kelley, K.M., Calitri, T., Lange, M. and Anderson, B.S. 2008. Biology and ecology of the recreational bonefish fishery at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge with comparisons to other Pacific islands. In: J.S. Ault (ed.), Biology and Management of the World Tarpon and Bonefish Fisheries, pp. 27-56. CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, Boca Raton, Florida.

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

Randall, J.E. 1995. Coastal fishes of Oman. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Randall, J.E. and Bauchot, M.-L. 1999. Clarification of the two Indo-Pacific species of bonefishes, Albula glossodonta and A. forsteri. Cybium 23(1): 79-83.

Shaklee, J. B. and Tamaru, C. S. 1981. Biochemical and morphological evolution of Hawaiian bonefishes (Albula). Systematic Zoology 30: 125-146.

Wallace, E.M. and Tringali, M.D. 2010. Identification of a novel member in the family Albulidae (bonefishes). Journal of Fish Biology 76: 1972-1983.

Citation: Adams, A., Guindon, K., Horodysky, A., MacDonald, T., McBride, R., Shenker, J. & Ward, R. 2012. Albula argentea. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T194298A2310290. . Downloaded on 15 August 2018.
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