Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Pomacanthidae

Scientific Name: Apolemichthys trimaculatus
Species Authority: (Cuvier, 1831)
Common Name(s):
English Threespot Angelfish, Three Spot Angelfish, Three-spot Angelfish, Flagfish, Three Spot Angel
French Papillon jaune, Poisson ange à trois taches, Poisson-ange à trois taches
Holacanthus trimaculatus Cuvier, 1831
Taxonomic Notes: Apolemichthys armitagei Smith, 1955, is a hybrid between A. trimaculatus and A. xanthurus (Pyle and Randall 1994).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-10-08
Assessor(s): Pyle, R., Myers, R., Rocha, L.A. & Craig, M.T.
Reviewer(s): Elfes, C., Polidoro, B., Livingstone, S. & Carpenter, K.E.

Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population and no apparent major threats.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is very widely distributed throughout the Indian Ocean and the tropical western Pacific Ocean (Pyle 2001). It has been recorded from Mozambique and Tanzania in the west, to Samoa in the east, and from southern Japan in the north of its range to New Caledonia and northern Australia in the south. It is found at depths of 10 to 80 m.
Countries occurrence:
American Samoa (American Samoa); Australia; British Indian Ocean Territory; Christmas Island; Comoros; Fiji; Guam; India; Indonesia; Japan; Kenya; Madagascar; Malaysia; Maldives; Mauritius; Mayotte; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Mozambique; Myanmar (Coco Is.); New Caledonia; Northern Mariana Islands; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Réunion; Samoa; Seychelles; Solomon Islands; Somalia; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Tonga; Vanuatu
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – western central
Lower depth limit (metres):80
Upper depth limit (metres):10
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


It is generally common with stable populations.

Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Inhabits outer coral reef slopes and drop-offs at depths of 10 to 80 m, where it occurs as solitary animals in pairs, or in small loose groups (Pyle 2001). It is most likely encountered on outer reef drop-offs due to its preference for steep slopes (G.R. Allen pers. comm. 2006). Juveniles secretive and occur below 25 m (Myers 1991). This species feeds on sponges and tunicates (Pyle 2001).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Frequently exported through the aquarium trade (Pyle 2001).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

There appear to be no major threats to this species. Collection is limited and is not considered to be impacting the global population.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

There appear to be no species-specific conservation measures in place. It occurs in some marine protected areas.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.2. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.1. Outer Reef Channel
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.2. Back Slope
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.3. Foreslope (Outer Reef Slope)
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.4. Lagoon
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  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)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Minority (<50%) ♦ severity: Negligible declines ⇒ Impact score: Low Impact: 4 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Allen, G.R. and Stone, G.S. 2005. Rapid Assessment Survey of Tsunami-affected Reefs of Thailand. In: G.R. Allen and G.S. Stone (eds), Final Report to the New England Aquarium. New England Aquarium Global Marine Programs Office, Boston, USA.

Allen, G.R., Steene, R. and Allen, M. 1998. A guide to angelfishes and butterflyfishes. Odyssey Publishing/Tropical Reef Research.

Endoh, K. 2007. Angelfishes of the World. Two Little Fishies, Inc., Miami Gardens, Florida.

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

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

Myers, R.F. 1991. Micronesian reef fishes: a comprehensive guide to the coral reef fishes of Micronesia. Coral Graphics, Barrigada, Guam.

Pyle, R. 2001. Pomacanthidae: Angelfishes. In: K.E. Carpenter and V.H. Niem (eds), FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. Bony fishes part 3 (Menidae to Pomacentridae), pp. 3266-3286. FAO, Rome, Italy.

Pyle, R.L. and Randall, J.E. 1994. A review of hybridization in marine angelfishes. Environmental Biology of Fishes 41: 127-145.

Randall, J.E., Williams, J.T., Smith, D.G., Kulbicki, M., Tham, G.M., Labrosse, P., Kronen, M., Clua, E. and Mann, B.S. 2003. Checklist of the shore and epipelagic fishes of Tonga. Atoll Research Bulletin 502: 1-37.

Steene, R.C. 1978. Butterfly and angelfishes of the world. A.H. and A.W. Reed Pty Ltd., Australia.

Citation: Pyle, R., Myers, R., Rocha, L.A. & Craig, M.T. 2010. Apolemichthys trimaculatus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T165835A6144569. . Downloaded on 14 October 2015.
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