Actinopyga lecanora 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Echinodermata Holothuroidea Aspidochirotida Holothuriidae

Scientific Name: Actinopyga lecanora (Jaeger, 1833)
Common Name(s):
English Stonefish
Muelleria lecanora Jaeger

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-05-18
Assessor(s): Conand, C., Gamboa, R. & Purcell, S.
Reviewer(s): Polidoro, B., Harwell, H., Carpenter, K.E. & Knapp, L.
This species is widespread in the Indo-Pacific, and is considered rare or uncommon but may be more common in the eastern portion of its range. It is fished in at least the eastern portion of its range, but there is no information on the impact of fisheries on this species' population. This species is not well-known in fisheries reports from the Philippines or the Indian Ocean, which may be because it is nocturnal. Therefore it is listed as Data Deficient. More information is needed on the impact of fisheries on this species' population, as well as information on its biology and ecology.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species can be found in the Western Pacific Region (Kinch et al. 2008), East Africa and Central Indian Ocean region (Conand 2008), as well as in the Asian region although it is considered rare in some locations (i.e. Taiping Islands and Taiwan Province of China) (Choo 2008).
Countries occurrence:
American Samoa; Cambodia; China; Djibouti; Fiji; Guam; Indonesia; Japan; Kenya; Madagascar; Malaysia; Mauritius; Mozambique; Myanmar; New Caledonia; Northern Mariana Islands; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; RĂ©union; Seychelles; Solomon Islands; Somalia; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Tonga; Vanuatu; Viet Nam
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – western; Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):20
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is not common and occurs in very low densities.

In the Philippines, annual exports increased from 250t in 1977 and 1189t in 1984 to 2123t in 1996 for 25 species including H. scabra, H. nobilis, B. marmorata, H. fuscogilva, H. atra and A. lecanora (Bruckner et al. 2003).

A 2009 study by Purcell et al. suggests that populations of Holothuria fuscogilva, Holothuria lessoni and Actinopyga lecanora in la Grande Terre, New Caledonia are too low to support further exploitation, and should be closed to fishing.

In Melanesia, population surveys conducted registered very low numbers of commercially important species of sea cucumbers, including A. lecanora (Kinch et al. 2008). In Papua New Guinea, population densities are low (Kinch et al. 2008).

Choo (2008) reports that A. lecanora is heavily fished in certain countries including those of Asia.

In Papua New Guinea, densities declined from 3 individuals per hectare in 1992 to 0.2 per hectare in 1996 (Kaly et al. 2007).

This species was found in 2006 from 3 to 42 individuals per hectare in the Solomon Islands (Pinca et al. 2009). In 2002-2009 in Fiji, this species was reported as 0 to 29 individuals during the day, and up to 50-67 individuals at night per hectare (Friedman et al. 2010).

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

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is a nocturnal species that prefers hard substrates between 0-20m (Kinch et al. 2008). The ecology of this species is poorly known, but it is common in shallow water.  In the daytime, it is found under large stones, in gaps in reef slopes or in sheltered areas (Rasolofonirina pers. comm. 2010).  In Kenya, this species is often found grazing on live and dead coral (Samyn 2000).  However, nothing is known about the biology of this species.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is commercially fished in several areas throughout its distribution and is of medium commercial importance in most of these areas.  It is also present in artisanal fisheries throughout the entirety of its distribution.  It is consumed either as bĂȘche-de-mer or its intestine and/or gonads are consumed as delicacies or as the protein in traditional diets in 13 countries or territories in the Western Central Pacific (Kinch et al. 2008), although it is not considered traditional in Papua New Guinea. In Fiji, A. lecanora is considered of medium commercial importance and it is part of an important fishery. This fishery has gone through periods of boom-and-bust, with current catch records of over 700 tones of sea cucumbers (Kinch et al. 2008). It is currently fished in Palau, Federal States of Micronesia, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji and Torres Straits (Australia). In Papua New Guinea, A. lecanora is part of a multispecies (26 species) fishery, where population surveys have registered a low density for most commercially important species (Kinch et al. 2008). In the Seychelles, it is subjected to an intensive fishery along with five other sea cucumber species (Aumeeruddy and Payte 2004). In China, it is considered of medium to low commercial importance (Li 2004).

This species is part of an artisanal fishery in its whole distribution range where it is hand collected, using lead bombs and free-diving. Night SCUBA diving is also a common practice in Papua New Guinea, although it has been officially banned (Kinch et al. 2008b).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is fished commercially in parts of its distribution and is present in artisanal fisheries throughout its entire distribution.  However, the effects of this activity on the population of this species are unknown.  Although this is 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.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In Papua New Guinea, Actinopyga lecanora has a minimum size limit of 15cm total length if fresh and 10cm total length if dry, a fishing season (between January 16th and September 30th),  Total Allowable Catch restrictions, gear restrictions and permits for storage and export (Kinch et al. 2008).  A. lecanora has a distribution that directly overlaps several marine protected areas throughout its extensive range.  More information is needed on the impact of fisheries on this species population, as well as information on its biology and ecology.

Citation: Conand, C., Gamboa, R. & Purcell, S. 2013. Actinopyga lecanora. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T180266A1608301. . Downloaded on 26 May 2018.
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