Home > Fishes > Surgeonfishes

Updated 6/30/2024

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 - ENDEMIC

Ctenochaetus strigosus

GOLDRING SURGEONFISH, Juvenile

 

Ctenochaetus strigosus

GOLDRING SURGEONFISH

 


INDO-PACIFIC / HAWAII

 

 

Acanthurus nigrofuscus

BROWN SURGEONFISH, Juvenile

 

Acanthurus nigrofuscus

BROWN SURGEONFISH

Acanthurus triostegus

CONVICT TANG

Acanthurus nigroris

BLUELINED SURGEONFISH, Juvenile

Acanthurus nigroris

BLUELINED SURGEONFISH

 

Acanthurus nigroris

BLUELINED SURGEONFISH

 

Acanthurus thompsoni

THOMPSON'S SURGEONFISH, Juvenile

 

Acanthurus thompsoni

THOMPSON'S SURGEONFISH

 

 

Acanthurus blochii

RINGTAIL SURGEONFISH

Acanthurus xanthopterus

YELLOWFIN SURGEONFISH, Juvenile

Acanthurus xanthopterus

YELLOWFIN SURGEONFISH

Acanthurus dussumieri

WHITESPINE SURGEONFISH, Juvenile

 

Acanthurus dussumieri

WHITESPINE SURGEONFISH

Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis

CHEVRON TANG, Juvenile

 

Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis

CHEVRON TANG or BLACK SURGEONFISH

 

Acanthurus olivaceus

ORANGEBAR SURGEONFISH, Juvenile

 

Acanthurus olivaceus

ORANGEBAND SURGEONFISH

 

Zebrasoma velifer

SAILFIN TANG, juvenile

 

Zebrasoma velifer

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, juvenile

Zebrasoma scopas

BRUSHTAIL TANG

 

Paracanthurus hepatus

PALETTE SURGEONFISH, juvenile

 

Paracanthurus hepatus

PALETTE SURGEONFISH

 

Ctenochaetus striatus

STRIPED BRISTLETOOTH, juvenile

 

Ctenochaetus striatus

STRIPED BRISTLETOOTH

 

Ctenochaetus cyanocheilus

BLUELIP BRISTLETOOTH

Ctenochaetus flavicauda

PALE-TAIL BRISTLETOOTH

 

Acanthurus nigricauda

 

BLACKSTREAK SURGEONFISH

 

Acanthurus pyroferus

MIMIC SURGEONFISH, Juvenile

 

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

 

Naso brachycentron

HUMPBACK UNICORNFISH

 

Naso tonganus

HUMPNOSE UNICORNFISH

 

Naso fageni

HORSEFACE UNICORNFISH

 

Acanthurus mata

YELLOWLIP SURGEONFISH

Acanthurus japonicus

JAPANESE SURGEONFISH

 

 

INDIAN OCEAN

 

Acanthurus leucosternon

POWDER-BLUE SURGEONFISH

 


EAST ASIA

 

Prionurus scalprum

SCALPEL SAWTAIL     Nizadai

 


EASTERN PACIFIC

Prionurus punctatus

YELLOWTAIL SURGEONFISH

 

Acanthurus triostegus

CONVICT TANG

 


WESTERN ATLANTIC

Acanthurus chirurgus

DOCTORFISH

 

Acanthurus tractus

OCEAN SURGEONFISH

Acanthurus coeruleus

BLUE TANG, Juvenile

 

Acanthurus coeruleus

BLUE TANG