Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Acanthuriformes
(Surgeonfishes) > Chaetodontidae
Etymology: Forcipiger: Latin, forceps = instrument of the pincers kind used for seizing and holding objects, esp. In surgical and obstetric operations + latin, gero = to carry; 1634 (Ref. 45335). More on authors: Jordan & McGregor.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; reef-associated; non-migratory; depth range 2 - 145 m (Ref. 89467). Tropical; 36°N - 32°S, 30°E - 79°W
Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa (Ref. 12484) to the Hawaiian and Easter islands, north to southern Japan, south to Lord Howe Island; throughout Micronesia. Eastern Pacific: southern Baja California, Mexico and from the Revillagigedo and Galapagos Islands (Ref. 5227, 11482).
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 22.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9710); max. reported age: 18 years (Ref. 72479)
Common in exposed seaward reefs but also found in lagoon reefs (Ref. 9286). Benthopelagic (Ref. 58302). Solitary or in small groups of up to 5 individuals (Ref. 9286). Adults usually in pairs (Ref. 48636). Feed on a wide variety of animal prey including hydroids, fish eggs, small crustaceans but prefers tube feet of echinoderms, pedicilaria of sea urchins, and polychaete tentacles (Ref. 1602). Oviparous (Ref. 205), monogamous (Ref. 52884). Form pairs during breeding (Ref. 205). Second most important export in Hawaii (Ref. 37816).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Distinct pairing (Ref. 205). Monogamous mating is observed as both obligate and social (Ref. 52884).
Myers, R.F., 1991. Micronesian reef fishes. Second Ed. Coral Graphics, Barrigada, Guam. 298 p. (Ref. 1602)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 123251)
CITES (Ref. 123416)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: of no interest; aquarium: commercial
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingNutrientsMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 24.3 - 28.8, mean 27.5 °C (based on 710 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.6250 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.02188 (0.01063 - 0.04504), b=3.01 (2.84 - 3.18), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 3.1 ±0.2 se; based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (17 of 100) .
Nutrients (Ref. 124155
): Calcium = 78.4 [47.8, 127.8] mg/100g ; Iron = 0.77 [0.51, 1.24] mg/100g ; Protein = 19.1 [18.0, 20.1] % ; Omega3 = 0.134 [0.087, 0.202] g/100g ; Selenium = 31.2 [17.7, 56.8] μg/100g ; VitaminA = 38.6 [12.7, 120.6] μg/100g ; Zinc = 1.3 [0.9, 1.9] mg/100g (wet weight);