Common names from other countries
Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Acanthuriformes
(Surgeonfishes) > Acanthuridae
(Surgeonfishes, tangs, unicornfishes) > Acanthurinae
Etymology: Acanthurus: Greek, akantha = thorn + Greek, oura = tail (Ref. 45335). More on author: Valenciennes.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; reef-associated; depth range 4 - 131 m (Ref. 9710), usually 9 - 130 m (Ref. 27115). Tropical; 24°C - 28°C (Ref. 27115); 40°N - 37°S, 17°E - 155°W
Indo-Pacific: East Africa (including the Mascarene Islands, Ref. 37792) to the Hawaiian and Line islands, north to southern Japan, south to Rowley Shoals, southern Great Barrier Reef and Lord Howe Island. Absent from most of central Pacific.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 54.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3145); common length : 35.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3146); max. reported age: 28 years (Ref. 52229)
soft rays: 24 - 26. Pale brown body; broader, irregular lines on head; orange band between eyes, continued behind each eye to gill cover. Each side of caudal peduncle with single, sharp, forward-pointing erectile spine; spine largely covered by cream sheath; groove surrounded by a black area. Dorsal fin with soft part having longer base than spinous part. Minute scales. Gill rakers 22-26 in anterior row, 23-27 in posterior row. Caudal fin lunate in adults (Ref. 1602).
Schooling species, usually occurring in seaward reefs at depths greater than 9 m (Ref. 1602). Adults mainly on deep coastal reef slopes and outer reef walls, often on deep shipwrecks. Juveniles found on algae-rocky reef (Ref. 48637). Benthopelagic (Ref. 58302). Occur singly or in groups (Ref. 37816). Feed on surface film of fine green and blue-green algae, diatoms, and detritus covering sand (Ref. 1602). Pair-spawner (Ref. 37816). Mainly diurnal. (Ref. 1602). Utilized as a food fish (Ref. 3146).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Probably spawn in pairs (Ref. 240).
Randall, J.E., 1986. Acanthuridae. p. 811-823. In M.M. Smith and P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. (Ref. 3145)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 123251)
CITES (Ref. 123416)
Fisheries: minor commercial; aquarium: commercial
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 20.3 - 28.9, mean 27.2 (based on 2904 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.03020 (0.01872 - 0.04873), b=2.94 (2.81 - 3.07), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species & Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 2.0 ±0.00 se; based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (tmax=28; K=0.29).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Moderate vulnerability (36 of 100) .