Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory




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CAAB: 37055000



Compiler and date details

20 February 2018 - Dianne J. Bray, John R. Paxton, Jennifer E. Gates & Douglass F. Hoese

2 November 2011 - Dianne J. Bray, John R. Paxton, Jennifer E. Gates & Douglass F. Hoese

20 December 2006 - John R. Paxton, Jennifer E. Gates, Dianne J. Bray & Douglass F. Hoese


Authors differ as to the number of species in the family Albulidae. Nelson (2006) suggested that the family comprised two genera and at least five species worldwide. Colborn et al. (2001) published a preliminary molecular phylogeny of Albula indicating the existence of at least eight putative species. Karl et al. (2007) recognised six described species and five undescribed species of Albula. Hidaka et al. (2008) reviewed the ‘‘Albula argentea complex" and described a new species from the Indo-Pacific. Kwun & Kim (2011) described a new species from Korea and Taiwan. Pfeiler et al. (2011) described a new species from the Eastern Pacific, and suggested that the species of Albula are very uncertain. Hidaka et al. (2008) and Pfeiler et al. (2011) treated A. forsteri as a junior synonym of A. argentea. Albula argentea is a secondary homonym. Here we follow Kottelat (2013) and Eschmeyer et al. (2018), who considered the name A. argentea to be available based on Article 23.9.5 in the Code of Zoological Nomenclature that allowed use of secondary homonyms. Previously, Hildebrand (1963) who reviewed the family, recognised two monotypic genera, Shaklee & Tamaru (1981) considered that Albula consisted of five species, whereas Whitehead (1986) after reviewing the nominate species recognised only one species. Smith & Randall (1999) and Randall & Bauchot (1999) previously recognised two species from the Indo-Pacific.

Two species, A. argentea and A. oligolepis have been recorded from Australian waters. A third species, A. glossodonta Forsskål, 1775, collected in Papua New Guinea, may be expected to occur in northern Australia. Records of that species from Fishbase from Lord Howe Island have not been confirmed. Records of the genus from Cocos (Keeling) Islands have not been positively identified to species. Paxton et al. (2006) previously recorded a single species from Australia.

Bonefishes are known from most shallow warm seas. They are relatively slender fishes with a long snout, heavy adipose eyelids and a gular plate, and feed on a range of fishes and invertebrates such as bivalves, squid and shrimps. Although esteemed for their fighting ability,bonefishes are considered poor eating. Although albulids, like other members of the Subdivision Elopomorpha, which includes the true eels (order Anguiliformes), have a leptocephalus larval stage, bonefish larvae differ from eel leptocephali in having forked tails. Maximum size is 1.05 m.


General References

Colborn, J., Crabtree, R.E., Shaklee, J.B., Pfeiler, E. & Bowen, B.W. 2001. The evolutionary enigma of bonefishes (Albula spp.): cryptic species and ancient separations in a globally distributed shorefish. Evolution 55(4): 807-820 [Date published 14 May 2001]

Eschmeyer, W.N., Fricke, R. & van der Laan, R. (eds) 31 May 2018. Catalog of Fishes: Genera, Species, References. California Academy of Sciences. Electronic version accessed 01 Jun 2018.

Hidaka, K., Iwatsuki, Y. & Randall, J.E. 2008. A review of the Indo-Pacific bonefishes of the Albula argentea complex, with a description of a new species. Ichthyological Research 55: 53-64

Hildebrand, S.F. 1963. Family Albulidae. pp. 132-147 figs 22-24 in Olsen, Y.H. (ed.). Fishes of the western North Atlantic. Memoir. Sears Foundation of Marine Research 1(3): 1-630

Karl, S.A., Bowen, B.W. & Pfeiler, E. 2007. Chapter 11. Resolving Evolutionary Lineages and Taxonomy of Bonefishes (Albula spp.). pp. 147–154 in Ault, J.S. Biology and Management of the World Tarpon and Bonefish Fisheries. CRC Press 472 pp.

Kottelat, M. 2013. The fishes of the inland waters of southeast Asia: a catalogue and core bibliography of the fishes known to occur in freshwaters, mangroves and estuaries. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 27: 1-663

Kwun, H.J. & Kim, J.K. 2011. A new species of bonefish, Albula koreana (Albuliformes: Albulidae) from Korea and Taiwan. Zootaxa 2903: 57-63

Nelson, J.S. 2006. Fishes of the World. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 601 pp.

Paxton, J.R., Gates, J.E., Bray, D.J. & Hoese, D.F. 2006. Albulidae. pp. 226-227 in Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & Allen, G.R. Fishes. In, Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Vol. 35. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3, 2178 pp. [226]

Pfeiler, E., Van der Heiden, A.M., Ryan, S., Ruboyianes, R.S. & Watts, T. 2011. Albula gilberti, a new species of bonefish (Albuliformes: Albulidae) from the eastern Pacific, and a description of adults of the parapatric A. esuncula. Zootaxa 3088: 1-14

Randall, J.E. & Bauchot, M.-L. 1999. Clarification of the two Indo-Pacific species of bonefishes, Albula glossodonta and A. forsteri. Cybium 23(1): 79-83

Shaklee, J.B. & Tamaru, C.S. 1981. Biochemical and morphological evolution of Hawaiian bonefishes (Albula). Systematic Zoology 30(2): 125-146 figs 1-6

Smith, D.G. & Randall, J.E. 1999. Family Albulidae. pp. 1623-1624 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397-2068. [1623]

Whitehead, P.J.P. 1986. The synonymy of Albula vulpes (Linnaeus, 1758) (Teleostei, Albulidae). Cybium 10(3): 211-230


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
05-Mar-2019 ELOPOMORPHA 02-Oct-2018 MODIFIED Dr Doug Hoese (AM)
27-Jul-2016 ELOPOMORPHA 24-Aug-2016 MODIFIED
27-Jul-2016 28-May-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)