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Acanthurus chirurgus  (Bloch, 1787)

Doctorfish
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| Native range | All suitable habitat | PointMap | Year 2100 |
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Acanthurus chirurgus   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Acanthurus chirurgus (Doctorfish)
Acanthurus chirurgus
Picture by Patzner, R.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes (Perch-likes) > Acanthuridae (Surgeonfishes, tangs, unicornfishes) > Acanthurinae
Etymology: Acanthurus: Greek, akantha = thorn + Greek, oura = tail (Ref. 45335).

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; reef-associated; depth range 2 - 25 m (Ref. 7345), usually 2 - 15 m (Ref. 27115).   Subtropical; 22°C - 25°C (Ref. 27115); 37°N - 7°S, 89°W - 34°W (Ref. 55164)

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?, range 17 - ? cm
Max length : 39.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 47377); common length : 35.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5217); max. published weight: 5.1 kg (Ref. 40637)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 9; Dorsal soft rays (total): 24-25; Anal spines: 3; Anal soft rays: 22 - 23. Caudal fin slightly emarginate (Ref. 13442). Body gray, with 10 well-spaced, narrow, darker gray vertical bars on side (Ref. 26938).

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Western Atlantic: Massachusetts (USA), Bermuda, and the northern Gulf of Mexico to São Paulo, Brazil. Eastern Atlantic: Senegal.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Inhabits shallow reefs or rocky areas. Found in loose aggregations (Ref. 9710). Mainly diurnal. Ingests sand when feeding on algae (Ref. 13442). The spine on both sides of the caudal peduncle may inflict painful wounds (Ref. 5217). Minimum depth reported from Ref. 27115. Larvae are planktonic (Ref. 47377). At Fernando de Noronha Archipelago in southwestern Atlantic, juveniles hold cleaning stations together with the blue tang (Acanthurus coeruleus) and sergeant major (Abudefduf saxatilis) and graze algae as well as pick molted skin and parasites from green turtles (Chelonia mydas). This behavior is preceded by a characteristic inspection usually followed by feeding nips on the turtles’ skin (head, limbs, and tail), as well as on the carapace. The most inspected and cleaned body parts are the flippers (Ref. 51385).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator : Randall, John E. | Collaborators

Robins, C.R. and G.C. Ray, 1986. A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, U.S.A. 354 p.

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Traumatogenic (Ref. 5217)




Human uses

Fisheries: minor commercial; aquarium: commercial
FAO(Publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Estimates of some properties based on empirical models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.02089 (0.01249 - 0.03495), b=2.92 (2.77 - 3.07), based on LWR estimates for species & Genus-BS (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  2.0   ±0.0 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.25-0.50).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Moderate vulnerability (37 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Medium.