Pomacanthids (angelfishes) and Pomacentrids (damselfishes) are mainly distributed in tropical and subtropical regions, and inhabit rocky and coral reefs between 1 and 30 m deep; a few species range to depths of 80 m or more (Thomson et al., 2000; Robertson & Allen 2008). Eschmeyer & Fong (2015) and Nelson (2006) report a total of 89 angelfish, and 387 damselfish species distributed around the world’s oceans. Along the Mexican coast, in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, registered species of this family include four angelfishes: Pomacanthus zonipectus (Gill, 1862), Holacanthus passer (Valenciennes, 1846), H. limbaughi (Baldwin, 1963), and H. clarionensis (Gilbert, 1891), and 13 damselfishes: Abudefduf troschelii (Gill, 1862), A. declivifrons (Gill, 1862), Azurina hirundo (Jordan & McGregor in Jordan & Evermann, 1898), Chromis alta (Greenfield & Woods, 1980), C. atrilobata (Gill, 1862), C. limbaughi (Greenfield & Woods, 1980), Hypsypops rubicundus (Girard, 1854), Microspathodon bairdii (Gill, 1862), M. dorsalis (Gill, 1862), Stegastes acapulcoensis (Fowler, 1944), S. flavilatus (Gill, 1862) S. leucorus (Gilbert, 1892) S. rectifraenum (Gill, 1862), and S. redemptus (Heller & Snodgrass, 1903).
Due to their colorful patterns and unusual body shapes, angelfish and damselfish have been widely targeted by aquarium fish trade, thus many species are of great commercial interest. In fact, damselfishes hold the world’s first place in such trade, while angelfishes are rated as fifth (Wabnitz et al. 2003). Piña-Espallargas et al. (2001) have pointed that H. clarionensis, S. leucorus and S. acapulcoensis are considered as commercially important fish in Mexico’s ornamental fishery.
Internationally, H. clarionensis and S. leucorus are listed as “Vulnerable” species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list, as their already limited distribution is likely to be affected by the ongoing climate change, resulting in reduction of actual population sizes (Pyle et al., 2010; Allen et al. 2010a, 2010b). In addition, these three species are not listed in any appendix of the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Nevertheless, at a national level the only species with a degree of vulnerability is H. clarionensis, listed as needing “Special protection” due to their great demand by aquarium trade industry and their limited range of distribution to the Mexican Pacific (Diario Oficial de la Federación, 2010).
In this paper we document the occurrence of H clarionensis, S. acapulcoensis, and S. leucorus north of their reported range of distribution. Given the ecological and economic importance of such species, this information should be taken into account for future decisions making in conservation and management subjects.