Acanthurus thompsoni 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Acanthuridae

Scientific Name: Acanthurus thompsoni (Fowler, 1923)
Common Name(s):
English Thompson's Surgeonfish, Chocolate Surgeonfish, Night Surgeonfish, Thompson's Tang, Whitetail Surgeonfish
French Chirurgien à Queue Blanche
Acanthurus philippinus Herre, 1927
Hepatus philippinus (Herre, 1927)
Hepatus thompsoni Fowler, 1923
Teuthis thompsoni (Fowler, 1923)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2010-05-04
Assessor(s): Abesamis, R., Clements, K.D., Choat, J.H., McIlwain, J., Myers, R., Nanola, C., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B. & Stockwell, B.
Reviewer(s): McClenachan, L., Edgar, G. & Kulbicki, M.
Acanthurus thompsoni is widespread, common and abundant in most parts of its range. It is caught incidentally and occasionally found in fish markets. Its distribution overlaps with a number of marine protected areas in parts of its range. It is therefore listed as Least Concern. We recommend monitoring of the harvest levels and population status of this species.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Acanthurus thompsoni is widespread in the Indo-Pacific, found from East Africa to the Hawaiian Islands and Pitcairn Islands, northwards to Kochi Prefecture, Japan, southwards to the Great Barrier Reef, Australia and New Caledonia. It was recorded from Rowley Shoals (Allen and Russell 1986).
Countries occurrence:
American Samoa; Australia; Bangladesh; British Indian Ocean Territory; Brunei Darussalam; Christmas Island; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Comoros; Cook Islands; Disputed Territory (Paracel Is., Spratly Is.); Fiji; French Polynesia; French Southern Territories (Mozambique Channel Is.); Guam; India (Andaman Is., Nicobar Is.); Indonesia; Japan; Kenya; Kiribati (Gilbert Is., Kiribati Line Is., Phoenix Is.); Madagascar; Malaysia; Maldives; Marshall Islands; Mauritius; Mayotte; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Mozambique; Myanmar; Nauru; New Caledonia; Niue; Northern Mariana Islands; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Pitcairn; Réunion; Samoa; Seychelles; Singapore; Solomon Islands; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Timor-Leste; Tokelau; Tonga; Tuvalu; United States (Hawaiian Is.); United States Minor Outlying Islands (Howland-Baker Is., Johnston I., Midway Is., US Line Is., Wake Is.); Vanuatu; Viet Nam; Wallis and Futuna; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – western; Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):119
Upper depth limit (metres):4
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Acanthurus thompsoni is common and abundant in most of its range. It was recorded as occasional in terms of relative abundance in the northern Bismarck Sea, Papua New Guinea (Allen 2009). It is moderately common in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea and Raja Ampat, Indonesia. It is usually seen over steep drop-offs (Allen 2003, 2003b). It is common in the American Samoa National Park (National Park of Samoa Checklist of Fishes, accessed 21 April 2010). It is common in the Philippines (S. Conales, Jr. and C. Nanola pers. comm. 2010). This species is collected as an aquarium fish in West Hawaii. The total number of individuals caught from FY 2005-2009 was 1,143 with a total value of $2,247 (Walsh et al. 2010).

In Kenya, landings during 1978-2001 for families that are less important in commercial catches (e.g., scarinae and Acanthuridae) showed rising catches (1978-1984) followed by a general decline during the 1990s (Kaunda-Arara et al. 2003).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Acanthurus thompsoni is found near steep drop-offs (Brown and Allen 2008). It feeds on zooplankton well above the bottom, or away from the wall in drop-offs. It is reported to occur as deep as 75 m (Chave and Mundy 1994), it is generally seen in less than 30 m and may occur in as little as 4 m (Randall 2001a). The sexes are separate among the acanthurids and there is no evidence of sexual dimorphism (Reeson 1983).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Acanthurus thompsoni  is a minor component of the aquarium trade (Global Marine Aquarium Database accessed 19 March 2010). It sells for $49.95 to $74.95 per fish depending on size ( accessed 13 April 2010).  It is a targeted food fish in western Thailand (Allen 2005). It is not targeted in the Philippines but occasionally found in fish markets.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are indications of localized population declines from fishing in Kenya.

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: There are no species-specific conservation measures in place for this species. However, its distribution overlaps several marine protected areas within its range.

Citation: Abesamis, R., Clements, K.D., Choat, J.H., McIlwain, J., Myers, R., Nanola, C., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B. & Stockwell, B. 2012. Acanthurus thompsoni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T178008A1519287. . Downloaded on 21 June 2018.
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