Cook Islands Biodiversity & Natural Heritage

Kyphosus cinerascens


Highfin Rudderfish

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General Information

COMMON NAMES: Highfin Rudderfish, Topsail Drummer, Snubnose Chub, Ashen Drummer, Blue Sea Chub; German Hochflossen-Ruderfisch; French Saupe Grise, Calicagère Bleue

TRADITIONAL NAMES: Nanuē / Pipi < Nanuē (RR), Raupipi < Tiotio < Nanue-tapa‘uru (MG), Tio Pakeke (MK), Nanue / Tio < Nanue < Nanue Paka (MT), Nanue / Pipi Nanue < Nanue (AK PK), Katutu Nanue / Pipi (PL), Nanuē (TS TW); Other Polynesian - Nanue (TAH), Utomo (MVA); COMMENT: Aitutaki: Pipi Nanūe (silvery) < Nanūe (grey).

GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION: NATIVE e.Africa to Easter, Hawai‘i; n. to s.Japan; s. to GBR

COOK ISLANDS STATUS: Native; Omnivorous, mainly feeding on benthic algae, relatively high in the water. Over algal covered area in lagoons and on outer reef-flats. down to 25m. PLUS: S.Group common;; Marine, near-shore, reef-flats and outer reef-slope

SIGNIFICANCE LIST: Reasonable eating

KEY FEATURES: To 40cm SL. Silvery-grey, high-oval fish, large tail with equal lobes; the soft hindsection of Dorsal distinctly higher than foresection. A pale stripe on the cheek. Sometimes yellow above and white below. Dorsal XI,12; gill rakers 8-10+18-20=26-30.

SIMILAR SPECIES: The Highfin Rudderfish is distinctive in having the hind-section of the dorsal conspicously higher than the fore-section - notable in the field. Those with uniform height dorsal fins are Insular Rudderfish (Kyphosus bigibbus) which has a pale stripe below the dorsal fin and across the forehead; and the Lowfin Rudderfish (Kyphosus vaigiensis) which lacks pale marks, and has a dark tail and anal fin. When colours are unusual fin-ray and gill raker counts enable reliable identification.

Enlarged Image of 'Kyphosus cinerascens'

Cook Islands Distribution

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Southern Group: Present    Makatea: Present

Northern Group: Present

Key to Symbols

Scientific Taxonomy

Kyphosus cinerascens (Forsskål, 1775)
SYNONYMS: Pimelepterus cinerascens; Sciaena cinerascens [O]

TAXONOMY: ANIMALIA; CHORDATA; GNATHOSTOMATA (Jawed Vertebrates); PISCES; OSTEICHTHYES; Perciformes; Percoidei; Percoidea; KYPHOSIDAE, Kyphosinae

Vouchers & References

Pukapuka: fieldspecimen+photo, 2/2004, G.McCormack with ID as Kyphosus cinerascens. Suwarrow: Photo N.Sims (Sims88 & EIA99).

text p.151 Myers (1991 2nd Ed.) Fishes of Micronesia
plate 60c Myers (1991 2nd Ed.) Fishes of Micronesia
p.215 Randall et al. (1990) Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef....
p.328 Burgess et al. (1988) Atlas of Marine Aquarium Fishes (TFH)
plate 55-11 Lieske & Myers (1996) Coral Reef Fishes
plate 53-14 Allen (1997) Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia....
Species No. 660 Munro (1967) Fishes of New Guinea

Data Update History (information):
zTX, zB02, zM02, zupM06a, zD02

Web Resources

Citation Information

McCormack, Gerald (2007) Cook Islands Biodiversity Database, Version 2007.2. Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust, Rarotonga. Online at Copy citation to system clipboard
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