Actinopyga palauensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Echinodermata Holothuroidea Aspidochirotida Holothuriidae

Scientific Name: Actinopyga palauensis Panning, 1944
Common Name(s):
English Panning's Blackfish

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-05-18
Assessor(s): Conand, C., Gamboa, R. & Purcell, S.
Reviewer(s): Polidoro, B., Carpenter, K.E., Harwell, H. & Knapp, L.
This species is known from New Caledonia, Tonga, Nuie, Palau, Marianas and in the Great Barrier Reef where it is common but considered to be less abundant than A. spinea. It is fished in many parts of its range, but is still considered to be a minor commercial species in terms of catch. This species is therefore listed as Least Concern.  Given its relatively small range and potential commercial value, more data is urgently needed on the fishery for this species, as well as this species' biology.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is found in Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Tonga, Nuie, eastern Australia (Great Barrier Reef) and New Caledonia.
Countries occurrence:
Australia; New Caledonia; Niue; Palau; Tonga
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):30
Upper depth limit (metres):4
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species was found at sites in Province Nord, New Caledonia where occasionally (3 sites) the abundances on barrier reefs were greater than 1,000ind*km-2 of reef (Purcell et al. 2009). During the same survey on a barrier reef, this species was found at 17 individuals per hectare (Purcell et al. 2009).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is a relatively conspicuous species that is found in reef passes and forereef pavement (Purcell et al. 2008). Purcell et al. (2009) found it in New Caledonia, mainly at barrier reef sites, but occasionally in the lagoon. A. palauensis is typically found in deeper waters from 10 to 30m, but can also be found as shallow as 4m (Purcell et al. 2008). Little else is known about its biology.

Many sea cucumbers are broadcast spawners, which can limit the fertilization success of a species. No information is known on the changes of habitat requirements during the life history of this species, but generally, the juveniles of aspidochirotids are cryptic and small individuals that may migrate into adult habitat later (Purcell 2004).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is fished in Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Tonga, Niue and New Caledonia, which together make up the entirety of its distribution. In the latter it is among the dominant species in the catches (Kinch et al. 2008). In the State of Yap (part of FSM) there is a potential to further develop the fishery of this species (Friedman et al. 2008).

Although not one of the most important species (medium value) for fishery purposes, it can be expected that this species may become more popular after the depletion or reduction of other species of higher commercial importance and value.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is harvested throughout the entirety of its distribution, but no catch records exist that indicate a population decline due to harvesting. 

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known conservation measures in place for this species, although it is found in some marine protected areas within its range. More information is needed on the impact of fisheries on this species as well as on the biology of this species.

With the inclusion of I. fuscus in CITES Appendix III, a debate started whether the conservation of this group may be addressed with their inclusion in one of CITES appendices (Toral-Granda 2007).

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.3. Foreslope (Outer Reef Slope)
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.4. Lagoon

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
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
3. Monitoring -> 3.2. Harvest level trends

♦  Food - human
 National : ✓  International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Conand, C.P. 1998. Holothurians (sea cucumbers, Class Holothuroidea). In: K.E. Carpenter and V.H. Niem (eds), FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes, pp. 1157-1190. Rome.

Friedman, K., Ropeti, E. and Tafileichig, A. 2008. Development of a management plan for Yap’s sea cucumber fishery. SPC Beche de Mer Information Bulletin 28: 7-13.

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.1). Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2013).

Kinch, J., Purcell, S., Uthicke, S. and Friedman, K. 2008. Population status, fisheries and trade of sea cucumbers in the Western Central Pacific. In: V. Toral-Granda and A. Lovatelli and M. Vasconcellos. (eds), Sea cucumbers. A global review of fisheries and trade. Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper. No. 516, pp. 7-55. FAO, Rome.

Purcell, S. 2004. Criteria for release strateges and evaluating the restocking of sea cucumbers. In: A, Lovatelli (ed.), Advances in sea cucumber aquaculture and management.. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper463, Rome.

Purcell, S.W., Gossuin, H. and Agudo, N.N. 2009. Status and management of the sea cucumber fishery of la Grande Terre, New Caledonia. The WorldFish Center, Penang, Malaysia.

Purcell, S.W., Gossuin, H. and Agudo, N.S. 2008. État et gestion de la ressource en holothuries de la Grande Terre, Nouvelle Calédonie. In: Le WorldFish Center (ed.).

Toral-Granda, V.M. 2006. Fact sheets and identification guide for commercial Sea cucumber species.

Toral-Granda, V.M. 2007. The Biological and Trade Status of Sea Cucumbers in the families Holothuriidae and Stichopodidae. Convention on International Trade in Endangerd Species of Wild Fauna and Flora: 33. The Hague, Netherlands.

Citation: Conand, C., Gamboa, R. & Purcell, S. 2013. Actinopyga palauensis. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T180406A1626867. . Downloaded on 24 May 2018.
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