Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory

<I>Kyphosus bigibbus</I>, holotype of <I>Kyphosus gibsoni</I>

Kyphosus bigibbus, holotype of Kyphosus gibsoni

<I>Kyphosus sydneanus</I>

Kyphosus sydneanus

<I>Kyphosus</I> species status uncertain, figure used for description of <I>Segutilum klunzingeri</I>

Kyphosus species status uncertain, figure used for description of Segutilum klunzingeri


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External Links

CAAB: 37361000


Drummers, Sea Chubs

Compiler and date details

17 February 2015 - Douglass F. Hoese, Matthew M. Lockett & Dianne J. Bray

25 February 2012 - Douglass F. Hoese, Dianne J. Bray & Matthew M. Lockett

December 2006 - Douglass F. Hoese & Dianne J. Bray


Members of the Kyphosidae occur worldwide. Several Indo-Pacific species were revised in a series of papers by Sakai and Nakabo (1995, 2004, 2006, 2008), however the family was more recently revised on a global basis by Knudsen & Clements (2013). They recognise two genera and twelve species, with one genus and seven species recorded from Australian waters. A variety of common names are used for various species and, in Australia, kyphosids are usually referred to as drummers.

We follow Johnson (1984), Johnson & Fritsche (1989) and Knudsen & Clements (2013) in treating the family as distinct from the Scorpididae, Girellidae and Microcanthidae. Gosline (1985) reviewed the early classification of the groups. Nelson (2006) organised this diverse group as one family with five subfamilies Kyphosinae, Girellinae, Microcanthinae, Parascorpidinae and Scorpidinae. Australian workers have sometimes treated them as families (Gomon 2008) or as subfamilies (Hoese et al. 2006). Neira et al. (1997) described larvae of the groups recognising them as separate families. Molecular studies (Yagishita et al. 2002) did not find evidence for a single large Kyphosidae. Knudsen & Clements (2013) believed that a full taxonomic designation of Kyphosidae is currently not possible since molecular studies have shown that this would require a thorough morphological examination of up to eight closely related families (Knudsen & Clements 2013 p. 5). Consequently we revert here to the previous classification pending further studies.

Species of the genus Kyphosus are normally found in tropical and subtropical regions usually around coral or rocky reefs. Most species are herbivorous with diets consisting of a wide range of green, brown and red algae. The exception is K. ocyurus, an eastern Pacific species which is pelagic and omnivorous.

The species are morphologically very similar and misidentifications are common. This has led to confusion about distribution of the species and as a result the most recent revision of the family has shown that both Atlantic and Indo-Pacific species of Kyphosus are more widely distributed than previously recognised (Knudsen & Clements 2013). In addition to the revision by Knudsen & Clements (2013), temperate species are treated in Gomon et al. (1994) and Gomon (2008) and tropical species are treated by Kuiter (1996), Randall et al. (1997) and Sakai (2001).


General References

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Families Monodactylidae, Arripidae, Kyphosidae, Girellidae, Microcanthidae, Scorpididae. pp. 596-607 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

Gosline, W. 1985. Relationships among some relatively deep-bodied percoid fish groups. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 31(4): 351-357

Hoese, D.F. & Bray, D.J. 2006. Family Kyphosidae. pp. 1317-1327 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.

Johnson, G.D. 1984. Percoidei: development and relationships. pp. 464-498 figs 254-264 in Moser, H.G. et al. (eds). Ontogeny and Systematics of Fishes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Special Publication 1: 1-760

Johnson, G.D. & Fritzsche, R.A. 1989. Graus nigra, an omnivorous girellid, with comparative osteology and comments on relationships of the Girellidae (Pisces: Perciformes). Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 141: 1-27

Klunzinger, C.B. 1880. Die von Müller'sche Sammlung australischer Fische in Stuttgart. Sitzungsberichte der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien 80(1): 325-430 pls 1-9 [pl. 7]

Knudsen, S.W. & Clements, K.D. 2013. Kyphosus gladius, a new species of sea chub from Western Australia (Teleostei: Kyphosidae), with comments on Segutilum klunzingeri Whitley. Zootaxa 3599(1): 1-18

Knudsen, S.W. & Clements, K.D. 2013. Revision of the fish family Kyphosidae (Teleostei: Perciformes). Zootaxa 3751(1): 1-101

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. [200]

McCulloch, A.R. 1920. Studies in Australian fishes, No. 6. Records of the Australian Museum 13(2): 41-71 figs 1-3 pls 10-14 [pl. 12 (fig 2 & 3)]

McCulloch, A.R. 1929. A check-list of the fishes recorded from Australia. Part II. Memoirs of the Australian Museum 5: 145–329

Neira, F.J. Miskiewicz, A.G. & Bruce, B.D. 1997. Larvae of five fish families with pattern 10 of the ramus lateralis accessorius nerve (Arripidae, Girellidae, Kyphosidae, Microcanthidae and Scorpididae): relevance to relationships. Bulletin of Marine Science 60(1): 117-138

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

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Sakai, K. & Nakabo, T. 1995. Taxonomic review of the Indo-Pacific kyphosid fish, Kyphosus vaigiensis (Quoy and Gaimard). Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 42(1): 61-70 figs 1-4

Sakai, K. & Nakabo, T. 2004. Two new species of Kyphosus (Kyphosidae) and a taxonomic review of Kyphosus bigibbus Lacépède from the Indo-Pacific. Ichthyological Research 51(1): 20-32

Sakai, K. & Nakabo, T. 2006. Taxonomic reviews of two Indo-Pacific sea chubs, Kyphosus cinerascens (Forsskål, 1775) and Kyphosus sydneyanus (Günther, 1886). Ichthyological Research 53(4): 337-356

Sakai, K. & Nakabo, T. 2008. Juveniles of Kyphosus vaigiensis (Quoy & Gaimard 1825) with reference to a senior synonym of Cantharus lineolatus Valenciennes 1830. Ichthyological Research 55: 2-6

Yagishita, N., Kobayashi, T. & Nakabo, T. 2002. Review of monophyly of the Kyphosidae (sensu Nelson, 1994), inferred from the mitochondrial ND2 gene. Ichthyological Research 49(2): 103-108


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)
23-Feb-2015 KYPHOSIDAE 17-Feb-2015 MODIFIED Dr Doug Hoese
23-Nov-2012 23-Nov-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)