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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Occurs in the upper portions of lagoon and coastal reefs, and in protected seaward reefs (Ref. 1602). Enters estuaries (Ref. 48636). Usually found on upper portions of ledges and heads (Ref. 9710). Feeds mainly on small benthic invertebrates and fish eggs (Ref. 9823). A protogynous hermaphrodite (Ref. 55367).
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Distribution

Range Description

This species is broadly distributed in the Indo-Pacific, and occurs from Eastern Africa and the Red Sea to the Line Islands, and from Japan to New Zealand. It is one of the most widespread reef fish in the southern hemisphere, found at equatorial regions ranging to 36° S (Ackerman 2004). It was also recorded in Pohnpei (Allen unpublished survey).
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Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa (Ref. 4392) to the Line Islands, north to southern Japan, south to Lord Howe Island and northern New Zealand (Ref. 1602). Reported to have formed a hybrid with Thalassoma rueppellii (Ref. 41655).
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Red Sea, Indo-West Pacific: East Africa east to Line Islands, Tuamotu Archipelago and Gambier Islands, north to southern Japan, south to Western Australia, New South Wales (Australia), New Caledonia, Lord Howe, Norfolk and Kermadec Islands, northern New Z
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 8; Dorsal soft rays (total): 13; Analspines: 3; Analsoft rays: 11
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Size

Maximum size: 300 mm ---
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Max. size

45.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 5450))
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Diagnostic Description

Description

Occurs in the upper portions of lagoon and coastal reefs, and in protected seaward reefs (Ref. 1602). Feeds mainly on small benthic invertebrates and fish eggs (Ref. 9823).
  • Anon. (1996). FishBase 96 [CD-ROM]. ICLARM: Los Baños, Philippines. 1 cd-rom pp.
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Adults are identified by the yellow lunate tail. Large males turn blue on the head that grades to green towards the tail (Ref. 48636). Body dark green to blue with vertical red to purplish red lines. Head green to blue with irregular pink to violet bands. Adults with large yellow crescent posteriorly in caudal fin and blue pectoral fins with a large elongate pink area distally. Juveniles with a large dark spot in middle of dorsal fin and a large diffuse black spot at base of caudal fin (Ref 9823).
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Ecology

Habitat

Environment

reef-associated; marine; depth range 1 - 20 m (Ref. 9823), usually 1 - 20 m (Ref. 27115)
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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species is diurnally active (Pawlik et al. 1988), and inhabits coral, coastal, rocky and sheltered reefs at depths ranging from one to 30 m (Allen 2000, Westneat 2001). In Hong Kong, it was found in areas of corals, boulders and bedrock along sheltered and highly exposed shores. It was observed singly or in groups (Sadovy and Cornish 2000).

It feeds primarily upon small benthic invertebrates and fish eggs (Pawlik et al. 1988, Westneat 2001, Ackerman 2004), Randall et al. (1990) also noted that it occasionally consumes fishes. Juveniles are more abundant in coral areas where they remain close to the substrate, especially branching Acropora corals (Sadovy and Cornish 2000).

No enlarged tooth can be found at rear of upper jaw, lateral line bends down below posterior portion of dorsal fin base with 25 pored scales (Westneat 2001). Small fish differs in colour from adults and possess a truncate caudal fin, whilst adults have a distinct lunate caudal fin (Sadovy and Cornish 2000). Adults are bright green to blue with a vertical red band on each scale and most horizontal, red or purple lines on head, while small individuals are olive green on upper part of the body and blue-white ventrally (Westneat 2001).

It is reported to be a protogynous hermaphrodite (Robertson and Choat 1974, Ackerman 2004), where individuals change sex from females to males. Males were significantly larger and older than females of the same age. Male growth trajectory appears to continue increasing in size with increasing age, however, the increase in size with age for the females is markedly reduced in comparison. From age of three to five years the increase in size for mature females is relatively small. In the Great Barrier Reef, this species exhibited sex change at age of approximately three years and size of approximately 12 cm SL. Females were found to be mature at the age of one year and size of sevem cm SL, and few mature females were found to be remaining in the population beyond four years of age. The maximum longevity was 12 years (Warner et al. 1975).

Cleaning behaviour was reported for this species (Okata 1994).

A general pattern of increasing longevity with increasing latitude was demonstrated in both the Indian Ocean and Pacific basins. In addition, it was found that reef exposure appeared to play a significantly role in shaping the life history parameters. Populations inhabiting in sheltered regions exhibited slow initial growth rates compared with those populations in exposed regions. However, the impact of reef exposure on the life histories is unpredictable (Ackerman 2004).

This species is not permanently territorial, it sets up temporary territories during spawning season. Pair spawning, involving a single male and female, or aggregate spawning in which one female and a group of males have been observed (Robertson and Choat 1974). In the Great Barrier Reef, spawning aggregations were observed in July and ripe gonads were found in August. Spawning events occur throughout the year at Palm Group Islands, Great Barrier Reef (Ackerman 2004). It uses the exposed habitats as spawning sites and spawn upon a strong current tidal effect, yet resides in more sheltered conditions (Robertson and Choat 1974). It was found that this species may move up to 500 m along a contiguous reef during periods of strong tidal movement for spawning purposes (Ackerman 2004).

Duration of planktonic larval stage was found to be 55 days in One Tree Lagoon, Great Barrier Reef (Brothers et al. 1983) and 46.8 +/- 6.3 days in Palau, Western Pacific (Victor 1986). The maximum recorded size of this species is 25-28 cm TL (Randall et al. 1990).

At One Tree Lagoon, the Great Barrier Reef, overall mortality during the first year was 29% and average annual mortality 4.9% +/- 1.2 %, it did not show any significant relationship between mortality rates and population of the species (Warner et al. 1975, Eckert 1987).

Thalassoma lunare x T. quinquevittatum and Gomphosus species x T. lunare hybrids were observed in the wild (Allen 2006).

Systems
  • Marine
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Depth range based on 136 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 65 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0.55 - 67
  Temperature range (°C): 21.472 - 29.266
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.047 - 3.114
  Salinity (PPS): 32.019 - 37.646
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.163 - 5.067
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.073 - 0.546
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.498 - 7.618

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0.55 - 67

Temperature range (°C): 21.472 - 29.266

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.047 - 3.114

Salinity (PPS): 32.019 - 37.646

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.163 - 5.067

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.073 - 0.546

Silicate (umol/l): 0.498 - 7.618
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth: 1 - 20m.
From 1 to 20 meters.

Habitat: reef-associated.
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Trophic Strategy

Occurs inshore (Ref. 75154).
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

A diandric species (Ref. 55367). Length at sex change = 11.0 cm TL, forms leks during breeding (Ref. 55367).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Thalassoma lunare

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 19
Specimens with Barcodes: 45
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Thalassoma lunare

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 21 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

CTCTACCTTGTGTTCGGCGCATGAGCCGGGATGGTAGGGACAGCCCTG---AGCCTGCTCATTCGAGCAGAATTAAGCCAGCCCGGCGCCCTCCTTGGAGAC---GACCAAATTTATAACGTCATCGTCACAGCCCATGCATTCGTCATAATTTTCTTTATAGTAATACCAATTATGATTGGCGGATTCGGAAACTGACTTATTCCCCTAATG---ATTGGCGCCCCCGATATGGCCTTCCCTCGTATGAACAATATGAGCTTTTGGCTTCTTCCCCCTTCATTCCTTCTCCTTCTCGCTTCTTCTGGTGTTGAAGCGGGGGCCGGGACCGGATGAACAGTCTACCCACCCCTAGCAGGCAACCTTGCCCACGCTGGCGCATCCGTTGATCTA---ACCATCTTCTCCCTACATCTGGCAGGTATTTCATCAATTTTAGGTGCAATTAACTTCATTACAACTATCATTAACATGAAACCCCCAGCCATCTCTCAATACCAAACGCCTCTTTTCGTATGGGCCGTTCTAATTACAGCAGTCCTTCTTCTGCTCTCTCTTCCAGTACTTGCTGCC---GGCATTACAATGCTCCTGACGGACCGAAATCTAAACACTACCTTCTTTGACCCAGCTGGAGGAGGGGACCCAATTCTTTATCAACATCTG------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------TTC
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Genomic DNA is available from 1 specimen with morphological vouchers housed at Florida Museum of Natural History
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2010

Assessor/s
Shea, S., Liu, M., Sadovy, Y. & Rocha, L.A.

Reviewer/s
Craig, M.T. & Carpenter, K.E.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has a wide distribution in the Indo-Pacific, and is common in most of its range. It is collected for the global marine aquarium trade. However, there are no known major threats for this species. It is listed as Least Concern. More information on the collection of this species for the aquarium trade is needed.
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Population

Population
This species is common in reefs distributed throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific (Randall 1983).

In Australia, it was found to be one of the top fifth most abundant labrids (Fulton et al. 2001). It is found in large abundances along both the west and east coasts of Australia to as far south as Rottnest (32 °S) and Montague Islands (36 °S), respectively (Ackerman 2004). It is also one of the most common fish species in the Great Barrier Reef (Sale and Steel 1989), population abundant in the Lizard Island (Grutter 1995, Stewart and Beukers 2000), with a density of 13 individuals per 150 m2 (Green 1996) and listed as the top ten most abundant fish species in One tree island (Caley 1995), density of 14 individuals per 200 m2 (Ackerman 2004), the Great Barrier Reef. It is found throughout both inshore, mid-shelf and outer shelf reefs on the Great Barrier Reef, temperate rocky reef systems and exposed, sheltered and lagoon areas (Ackerman 2004). In addition, schooling has been reported in the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia (Hutchins 2003), density of 30 and 25 individuals per site were found at Palm Islands and Whitsunday Islands, Queensland respectively (Graham et al. 2003). In 2004, Ackerman found this species in the Solomon Islands (15 individuals per 200 m2) exhibiting greater density estimates than both Lizard Island and Port Stephens. Whilst at the Outer Reef regions, off Lizard Island and One Tree Island, potentially had the least number of individuals. However, it is worth noting that new recruits were released for other experimental study in Lizard Island (Beukers 1996) and so might cause bias to the density estimation in the underwater visual census surveys.

In Kimbe Bay of Papua New Guinea, it was found to be one of the top seventh most abundant species with a total abundance of 6,816 individuals and a mean density of 3.28 individuals per 100 m2 (Srinivasan and Jones 2006).

On coral reefs of the Adang-ra Wi Islands, The Adaman Sea, mean density was 27 fish per 100 m2 (Satapoominl undated).

In Fiji, a total of 353 individuals were observed in various UVC surveys with body sizes of 5-20 cm TL (M. Kulbicki pers. comm. 2008).

In New Caledonia, this species is the most common fish species, a total of 10,657 individuals were observed in various UVC surveys with body sizes of 3-28 cm TL. In a total of 45 stations, 221 individuals were caught with total body weight of 1.7 kg (M. Kulbicki pers. comm. 2008).

In French Polynesia, a total of 23 individuals were observed in various UVC surveys with body sizes of 100-200 mm TL (M. Kulbicki pers. comm. 2008).

In Tonga, a total of 184 individuals were observed in various UVC surveys with body sizes of 5-20 cm TL (M. Kulbicki pers. comm. 2008).

In the Indian Ocean, it is the most abundant fish species in the Reunion Islands (Letourneur 1996). However, the most southern and northern regions (Abrolhos Island with seven individuals per 200 m2) exhibited the lowest estimates of density, whilst Ningaloo North exhibited a relatively higher estimates with 11 individuals per 200 m2.

Approximately 27 individuals per 100 m2 have been observed in the Okinawan coral reef (Nanami et al. 2005). A mean density of seven individuals per 250 m2 was found in Eritrean coastal waters, Red Sea (Daw et al. 2001).

It was found to be common in the Hong Kong waters (Sadovy and Cornish 2000).

On the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, an estimated mean density of 15.5 individuals from twenty 50 m X 5 m transects was recorded in underwater fish visual surveys (Yusuf et al. 2002).

In Langkawi Island, Malaysia an estimated mean density of 3.67 individuals from three 100 m X 2 m transects was recorded in underwater fish visual surveys (Lee et al. 2005).

In Pangkor Island, Malaysia an estimated mean density of 0.67 individuals from three 100 m X 2 m transects was recorded in underwater fish visual surveys (Y. Yusuf unpublished data).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no major threats known for this species, although it is taken by fish traps, hook and line and monofilament traps and sold for food and is also collected for the aquarium trade.
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Least Concern (LC)
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
There are no specific conservation measures in place for this species. Its distribution overlaps several marine protected areas within its range.

It is found in the Bai Tu Long National Park (Viet Nam) (Quan 2006), the Great Barrier Reef (Queensland Australia) (Sweatman 2008),Solomon Island (Weiant and Aswani 2006), Hoi Ha Wan, Tung Ping Chau and Yan Chau Tong Marine Parks (Hong Kong) (Cornish 2000). It is also observed in the Cape d’ Aguilar Marine Reserve (Hong Kong) and the Watamu Marine Park (Kenya) which has eliminated fishing for more than 10 years (AFCD 2008) and 20 years (McClanahan et al. 2002), respectively. Spawning aggregation was observed outside the Great Barrier Reef marine park (Russell 2001) and elsewhere have been observed and reported.

Furthermore, the Government of Australia is currently revising the proposal of establishing a 400,000 square mile Coral Sea Heritage Park, where fishing would be banned, in the Great Barrier Reef (Underwater Times 2008).

While many marine parks/reserves have been introduced within the geographic distribution range of this species, in places like Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Philippines (Tun et al. 2004), most of these marine protected areas (MPAs) are considered to be poorly managed or legislation is poorly enforced due to the lack of expertise, resource and effective co-ordination. For instance, some of the fish sanctuaries in the Philippines are only managed and enforced by the resort management (Tubod fish sanctuary) or local communities (White et al. 2002). As the efficacy of any legislation depends entirely upon its enforcement (Claydon 2004), the majority of these MPAs might not be able to provide sufficient protection (Licuanan and Gomez 2000, Chou et al. 2002).
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: minor commercial; aquarium: commercial; price category: very high; price reliability: very questionable: based on ex-vessel price for species in this family
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Wikipedia

Moon wrasse

The moon wrasse, Thalassoma lunare, is a species of wrasse native to the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean. It is an inhabitant of coral reefs and surrounding areas at depths from 1 to 20 m (3.3 to 66 ft). Moon wrasses are carnivorous and tend to prey on fish eggs and small sea-floor dwelling invertebrates. This species can reach 45 cm (18 in) in total length. It is of minor importance to local commercial fisheries and can also be found in the aquarium trade.[2]

The juvenile is blue on the lower half of its body, with a black spot in the middle of the dorsal fin and a black blotch on the caudal fin base. As it matures, the spot turns into a yellow crescent, hence the name. The body is green, with prominently marked scales. Coloration of the head ranges from blue to magenta, with a broken checkerboard pattern.

Moon wrasses are active fish, said to be moving all day long. They are also territorial, nipping, chasing, and otherwise harassing fish that get in their way.

Being diurnal, wrasses have strong vision, although they also have a decent sense of smell. At night, they rest in niches often under rocks or other such structures. If needed, a moon wrasse may dig out a space under a rock by repeatedly swimming through it until it fits without struggle.

They are protogynous hermaphrodites, all starting off as females and changing to males, a process which, for the moon wrasse, takes only 10 days. Some moon wrasses live in groups consisted of a dominant male, and a "harem" of about a dozen other wrasses, some female and some male. The alpha male is more brightly colored, and at every low tide hour, changes from green to blue, and goes into a show of attacking and nipping all the other wrasses. This is his way of showing his dominance to the rest of the males and keeping the females in check. During breeding season and before high tide, the alpha male turns completely blue, gathers up every single female, and the spawning frenzy begins.

Moon wrasses may live up to a decade in captivity, although this is shorter in the wild. They are popular fish in the aquarium trade, due to their hardiness, bright colors, and engaging behavior. They are renowned for their ability to tolerate spikes in nitrate, and eat bristle worms, a fish keeper's pest.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shea, S., Liu, M., Sadovy, Y. & Rocha, L.A. 2010. Thalassoma lunare. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 17 November 2013.
  2. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2013). "Thalassoma lunare" in FishBase. October 2013 version.
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