Home > Fishes > Surgeonfishes

Updated 11/4/2012

Family Acanthuridae

Surgeonfishes

An important group associated with coral reefs, surgeonfishes are named for the sharp, sometimes venomous blade-like caudal spines ahead of the tail. These spines may be used in defense and are harmless to swimmers unless the fish is handled.  Family characteristics include the disc-shaped body, small mouth, caudal spines, and swimming with pectoral fins. Some unicornfishes in the genus Naso develop a large horn on the forehead which does not appear to serve an obvious function. Many species are herbivorous, feeding on algae in groups for security, or carnivorous, feeding on small invertebrates on the bottom or high in the water column. The group has a long-lived larval stage thus only one species, the Goldring Surgeonfish, is endemic to Hawai'i.

 

HAWAII

Acanthurus triostegus

CONVICT TANG

 

Acanthurus nigrofuscus

BROWN SURGEONFISH

 

Acanthurus nigroris

BLUELINED SURGEONFISH

 

Acanthurus nigroris

BLUELINED SURGEONFISH

 

Acanthurus thompsoni

THOMPSON'S SURGEONFISH

 

Acanthurus blochii

RINGTAIL SURGEONFISH

 

Acanthurus xanthopterus

YELLOWFIN SURGEONFISH

 

Acanthurus dussumieri

WHITESPINE SURGEONFISH

 

Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis

CHEVRON TANG, Juvenile

 

Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis

CHEVRON TANG

 

Ctenochaetus strigosus

GOLDRING SURGEONFISH, Juvenile

 

Ctenochaetus strigosus

GOLDRING SURGEONFISH

 

Acanthurus olivaceus

ORANGEBAR SURGEONFISH, Juvenile

 

Acanthurus olivaceus

ORANGEBAR SURGEONFISH

 

Zebrasoma veliferum

SAILFIN TANG, juvenile

 

Zebrasoma veliferum

SAILFIN TANG

 

Zebrasoma flavescens

YELLOW TANG, juvenile

 

Zebrasoma flavescens

YELLOW TANG

 

Acanthurus guttatus

WHITESPOTTED SURGEONFISH

 

Acanthurus leucopareius

WHITEBAR SURGEONFISH

 

Acanthurus achilles

ACHILLES TANG, juvenile

 

Acanthurus achilles

ACHILLES TANG

 

Acanthurus achilles x A. nigricans

HYBRID ACHILLES x WHITECHEEK SURGEONFISH

 

Acanthurus nigricans

WHITECHEEK SURGEONFISH

 

Naso lituratus

ORANGESPINE UNICORNFISH, juvenile

 

Naso lituratus

ORANGESPINE UNICORNFISH

 

Naso unicornis

BLUESPINE UNICORNFISH, juvenile

 

Naso unicornis

BLUESPINE UNICORNFISH

 

Naso brevirostris

PALETAIL UNICORNFISH, juvenile

 

Naso brevirostris

PALETAIL UNICORNFISH

 

Naso annulatus

WHITEMARGIN UNICORNFISH, juvenile

 

Naso annulatus

WHITEMARGIN UNICORNFISH

 

Naso hexacanthus

SLEEK UNICORNFISH, juvenile

 

Naso hexacanthus

SLEEK UNICORNFISH

 

Naso maculatus

SPOTTED UNICORNFISH

 

Naso caesius

GRAY UNICORNFISH


INDO-PACIFIC

Zebrasoma scopas

BRUSHTAIL TANG

 

Paracanthurus hepatus

PALETTE SURGEONFISH

 

Ctenochaetus striatus

STRIPED BRISTLETOOTH

 

Ctenochaetus cyanocheilus

BLUELIP BRISTLETOOTH

 

Acanthurus pyroferus

MIMIC SURGEONFISH, Juvenile

 

Acanthurus pyroferus

MIMIC SURGEONFISH, Adult

 

Acanthurus lineatus

LINED SURGEONFISH

 

Naso vlamingii

BIGNOSE UNICORNFISH

 

Acanthurus thompsoni

THOMPSON'S SURGEONFISH

 

Ctenochaetus tominiensis

ORANGETIPPED BRISTLETOOTH

 


JAPAN

Acanthurus japonicus

JAPANESE SURGEONFISH

 

Prionurus scalprum

SCALPEL SAWTAIL     Nizadai


TROPICAL EASTERN PACIFIC

Prionurus punctatus

YELLOWTAIL SURGEONFISH

 

Acanthurus triostegus

CONVICT TANG

 


WESTERN ATLANTIC

Acanthurus coeruleus

BLUE TANG

 

Acanthurus bahianus

OCEAN SURGEONFISH