This species has a restricted distribution with the majority of the population confined to a reef habitat in a single location (two locations if Clarion is considered separate from the other three islands), and its area of occupancy is estimated to be less than <50 km2. It has previously been collected for the aquarium trade.
In the Eastern Tropical Pacific, severe localized fish species declines have occurred after strong ENSO events that result in shallow waters that are too warm and nutrient poor for extended periods of time (Grove 1985, Edgar et al. 2009). The frequency and duration of ENSO events in this region of the Eastern Tropical Pacific (e.g. the up-welling zone off the coast of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama and the offshore islands) appears to be increasing (Glynn and Ault 2000, Soto 2001, Chen et al. 2004). Given this species restricted distribution and shallow water habitat, oceanographic environmental changes, such as those associated with future ENSO events, may have detrimental effects on the survival of this species.