Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Acanthuridae
(Surgeonfishes, tangs, unicornfishes) > Acanthurinae
Etymology: Acanthurus: Greek, akantha = thorn + Greek, oura = tail (Ref. 45335).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; reef-associated; depth range 0 - 15 m (Ref. 27115), usually 1 - 3 m (Ref. 37792). Tropical; 24°C - 30°C (Ref. 27115); 36°N - 36°S, 27°E - 137°W
Indo-Pacific: East Africa, including the Mascarene Islands (Ref. 37792) to the Hawaiian, Marquesas and Tuamoto islands, north to southern Japan, south to the Great Barrier Reef and New Caledonia. Replaced by the closely related Acanthurus sohal in the Red Sea.
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 18.0  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 38.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3145); common length : 25.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 30573); max. reported age: 46 years (Ref. 27143)
soft rays: 25 - 28. Upper 3/4 of body with alternating black-edged blue and yellow bands; lower 1/4 of body gray. Erectile spine on each side of caudal peduncle is sharp, strong, forward-pointing, and venomous. Upper part of head with yellow, oblique stripes. Pectoral fins pale with dusky rays; pelvic fins light yellowish brown with black outer margin; vertical markings in caudal fin. Gill rakers 14-16 anterior row, 13-15 posterior row. Minute scales. Philippine specimens demonstrate different color patterns.
A territorial species (Ref. 167) which is common in surge zones of exposed seaward reefs. The large male controls well-defined feeding territories and harems of females (Ref. 1602, 48637). Benthopelagic (Ref. 58302). Adult usually forms schools and commonly found in shallow gutters. Juvenile solitary and secretive on shallow rubble habitats (Ref. 48637). The species is almost continually in motion. Herbivorous but also feeds on crustaceans (Ref. 5503). The venomous caudal spine can cause painful wounds. Forms spawning aggregations (Ref. 27825).
Form spawning aggregations, but spawn in pairs (Ref. 27825).
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. 115185)
CITES (Ref. 115941)
Fisheries: commercial; aquarium: commercial
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 24.7 - 29.3, mean 28.4 (based on 2958 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01862 (0.01229 - 0.02822), b=2.96 (2.84 - 3.08), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this 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 (tm=4; tmax=42;).
Prior r = 0.38, 2 SD range = 0.15 - 0.93, log(r) = -0.97, SD log(r) = 0.45, Based on: 2 K, 1 tgen, 1 tmax, records
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (23 of 100) .