Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Acanthuridae
(Surgeonfishes, tangs, unicornfishes) > Acanthurinae
Etymology: Acanthurus: Greek, akantha = thorn + Greek, oura = tail (Ref. 45335). More on author: Bloch, Schneider.
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; reef-associated; depth range 2 - 40 m (Ref. 7345), usually 2 - 18 m (Ref. 27115). Tropical; 24°C - 26°C (Ref. 27115); 42°N - 15°S, 100°W - 4°W (Ref. 55165)
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?, range 13 - ? cm
Max length : 39.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 36453); common length : 25.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5217)
soft rays: 24 - 26. A deep-bodied surgeonfish (body depth 1.7 in SL) with a conspicuous yellow caudal spine. Has the most distinctive coloration of all western Atlantic surgeonfishes (Ref. 26938).
Western Atlantic: New York, USA and Bermuda to the Gulf of Mexico and Brazil. Eastern Atlantic: Ascension Island (Ref. 7345).
Inhabits coral reefs, inshore grassy or rocky areas. Forms small groups (Ref. 26235). Mainly diurnal. Feeds entirely on algae (Ref. 5521). At Fernando de Noronha Archipelago in southwestern Atlantic, juveniles hold cleaning stations together with the doctorfish (Acanthurus chirurgus) 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). The spine on both sides of the caudal peduncle may inflict painful wounds (Ref. 5217). Marketed fresh.
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
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. (Ref. 7251)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Traumatogenic (Ref. 4690)
Fisheries: minor commercial; aquarium: commercial; bait: occasionally
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.02512 (0.01557 - 0.04053), b=2.96 (2.82 - 3.10), based on LWR estimates for species & Genus-body shape (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=0.11-0.50).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High vulnerability (59 of 100) .