Ctenochaetus strigosus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Ctenochaetus strigosus
Species Authority: (Bennett, 1828)
Common Name/s:
English Goldring Bristletooth, Slender-toothed Surgeonfish, Goldring Surgeonfish, Bristletoothed Surgeonfish, Spotted Bristletooth, Spotted Surgeonfish, Yellow-eyed Surgeonfish
Acanthurus strigosus Bennett, 1828

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2010-05-07
Assessor/s: McIlwain, J., Clements, K.D., Abesamis, R., Choat, J.H., Myers, R., Nanola, C., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B. & Stockwell, B.
Reviewer/s: Edgar, G. & Kulbicki, M.
Ctenochaetus strigosus is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands and Johnston Island. In Hawaii, 80% of its distribution lies within the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, where extraction is prohibited. It is common and abundant throughout its range. Although a very popular aquarium species, harvest is not considered a major threat. There has been an overall increase in density in protected areas in West Hawaii. Areas open to fishing have been relatively stable and recruitment levels relatively high enabling densities to increase in protected areas (Walsh et al. 2010). It is found in a number of well-policed MPAs and FRAs; in addition, harvest is closely monitored in Hawaii. It is therefore listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Ctenochaetus strigosus is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands and Johnston Island.
United States (Hawaiian Is.); United States Minor Outlying Islands (Johnston I.)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northwest
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


The Goldring Bristletooth (Ctenochaetus strigosus) is an abundant reef fish in the Hawaiian Islands (Randall 2001a). It is a very common species at South Kona, Big Island, Hawaii (Friedlander et al. 2006). It is among the top ten commercial aquarium species collected in Hawaii with reported catches of 346,944 individuals from FY 1976-2003. Catch has been consistently increasing since the late 1980s and in 2003 ranked the second in collected fishes in West Hawai'i and statewide (Walsh et al. 2004). Overall aquarium catch in fiscal years 2004 through 2006 reported 44,202 individuals caught/year and a value of $93, 202/ year. It made up 5.9% of the total catch (Friedlander et al. 2006).

The Goldring Bristletooth is the second most collected aquarium species in West Hawaii. There was an increase in overall density across Fish Replenishment Areas (FRAs) surveyed from 1999-2009 (Walsh et al. 2010, Friedlander et al. 2006). The FRAs were shown to be effective in terms of increases inside the FRAs relative to long term marine protected areas. This species and the Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) account for 91% of the total aquarium fish catch from FY 2005-2009 in West Hawaii. The total number of individuals collected over the past five years was 181,121 with a total value of $376, 253. Goldring Bristletooth exhibited a 13% increase in density since establishment of the FRAs. It is more abundant than the Yellow Tang and much less collected than this species. Areas open to fishing have been relatively stable and recruitment levels relatively high (Walsh et al. 2010).

Marine recreational catch surveys administered by the Hawaii Marine Recreational Fishing Survey in 2006 recorded 111, 221 individuals (Friedlander et al. 2006).  Approximately 1,500 kls./year landed in the commercial fishery of Hawaii (Division of Aquatic Resources unpub. data).

Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Individuals are usually solitary and occur mainly in shallow water. It has been recorded down to 113 m depth (Randall and Clements 2001).

The genus Ctenochaetus feed on fine detrital material. They whisk the sand or rocky substratum with their teeth and utilize suction to draw in the detrital material that consists of diatoms, small fragments of algae, organic material and fine inorganic sediment (Randall and Clements 2001).  Species of Ctenochaetus share the presence of a thick-walled stomach (Randall and Clements 2001), this character is significant with respect to the nutritional ecology of this genus (Choat et al. 2002b).

The sexes are separate among the acanthurids (Reeson 1983). Acanthurids do not display obvious sexual dimorphism, males assume courtship colours (J.H. Choat pers. comm. 2010).

Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Ctenochaetus strigosus is a very popular aquarium fish. In West Hawaii, it is the second most collected aquarium fish. There is no evidence of declines from harvesting.

Surgeonfishes show varying degrees of habitat preference and utilization of coral reef habitats, with some species spending the majority of their life stages on coral reef while others primarily utilize seagrass beds, mangroves, algal beds, and /or rocky reefs. The majority of surgeonfishes are exclusively found on coral reef habitat, and of these, approximately 80% are experiencing a greater than 30% loss of coral reef area and degradation of coral reef habitat quality across their distributions. However, more research is needed to understand the long-term effects of coral reef habitat loss and degradation on these species populations. Widespread coral reef loss and declining habitat conditions are particularly worrying for species that recruit into areas with live coral cover 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 (Comeros-Raynal et al. 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In Hawaii, nine Fish Replenishment Areas were established in 2000. These areas prohibit marine aquarium organism collecting within approximately 30% of the Kona coast nearshore habitat (Kusumaatmadja et al. 2004). In 2002, the Marine Aquarium Council initiated a three-year project designed to enhance coral reef conservation in the islands by facilitating MAC certification of qualifying aquarium industry operators and encouraging market incentives (MAC 2003). In addition, approximately 80% of this species' range lies within the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, where any type of extraction is prohibited.

Bibliography [top]

Choat, J.H., Clements, K.D. and Robbins, W.D. 2002b. The trophic status of herbivorous fishes on coral reefs. 1. Dietary analyses. Marine Biology 140: 613-623.

Comeros-Raynal, M.T., Choat, J.H., Polidoro, B., Clements, K.D., Abesamis, R., Craig, M.T., Lazuardi, M.E., McIlwain, J., Muljadi, A., Myers, R.F., et al.. 2012. The likelihood of extinction of iconic and dominant components of coral reefs: the parrotfishes and surgeonfishes. PLoS ONE http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0039825.

Friedlander, A., Aeby, G., Brainard, R., Brown, E., Chaston, K., Clark, A., McGowan, P., Montgomery, T., Walsh, W., Williams, I. and Wiltse, W. 2006. The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the Main Hawaiian Islands. Available at: http://www.nova.edu/ocean/cpce/hawaii.pdf. (Accessed: March 25).

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.2). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 17 October 2012).

Kusumaatmadja, R., Parks, J., Atkinson, S. and Dierking, J. 2004. Toward MAC certification of Hawaiian Islands collectors: A project update. SPC Live Reef Fish Information Bulletin 12: 26-28.

MAC (Marine Aquarium Council). 2003. Conserving the outstanding coral reef ecosystems of the Hawaiian Islands by enhancing economic opportunities in the marine aquarium fish trade. Honolulu, Hawaii Available at: www.aquariumcouncil.org. (Accessed: 17 February).

Randall, J.E. 2001a. Surgeonfishes of the world. Mutual Publishing and Bishop Museum Press, Hawai'i, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Randall, J.E and Clements, K.D. 2001. Second revision of the surgeonfish genus Ctenochaetus (Perciformes: Acanthuridae), with descriptions of two new species. Indo-Pacific Fishes 32: 33.

Reeson, P.H. 1983. The biology, ecology and bionomics of the surgeonfishes, Acanthuridae. In: J.L. Munro (ed.), Caribbean coral reef fishery resources, pp. 178-190.

Tissot, B.N. and Hallacher, L.E. 2003. Effects of Aquarium Collectors on Coral Reef Fishes in Kona, Hawaii. Conservation Biology 17(6): 1759-1768.

Walsh, W., Cotton, S., Carman, B., Livnat, L., Osada, K., Barnett, C., Tissot, B., Stevenson, T., Wiggins, C., Tarnas, D., Bourdon, K. and Peck, S. 2010. Report on the Findings and Recommendations of Effectiveness of the West Hawaii Regional Fishery Management Area. Department of Land and Natural Resources State of Hawaii, State of Hawaii.

Walsh, W.J., Cotton, S.S.P., Dierking, J. and Williams, I.D. 2004. The Commercial Marine Aquarium Fishery in Hawaii 1976-2003. In: A.M. Friedlander (ed.), Proceeding of the 2001 fisheries sypmposium sponsored by the American Fisheries Society, Hawai'I Chapter, Honolulu, Hawai'i, pp. 132-158.

Citation: McIlwain, J., Clements, K.D., Abesamis, R., Choat, J.H., Myers, R., Nanola, C., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B. & Stockwell, B. 2012. Ctenochaetus strigosus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 April 2014.
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