Common names from other countries
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 5 - 100 m (Ref. 28016), usually 5 - 45 m (Ref. 27115). Tropical; 23°C - 28°C (Ref. 27115); 35°N - 24°S, 32°E - 143°W
Indo-Pacific: Red Sea south to Natal, South Africa and east to the Marquesas and Tuamoto islands, north to southern Japan, south to the southern Great Barrier Reef and New Caledonia.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 50.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3145); max. reported age: 23 years (Ref. 52229)
soft rays: 23 - 24. Body brown; head banded; fins brown. Capable of changing color to pale bluish overall. Behind eye a yellow area and 2 yellow bands extending anterior from eye. A single, sharp, forward-pointing erectile spine which folds down into a horizontal groove on each side of the caudal peduncle; spine in white sheath. Gill rakers 13-15 in both anterior and posterior rows. Scales minute.
Adults inhabit steep slopes, often in turbid waters, generally in the vicinity of coral reefs (Ref. 58652) or rocky bottoms. They form resident spawning aggregations (Ref. 27825, 48637). Adults often seen in schools, feeding mid-water on plankton (Ref. 48637). Feed on zooplankton. Marketed fresh. Flesh is almost never poisonous (Ref. 4795).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Form resident spawning aggregations (Ref. 27825).
Randall, J.E., 1987. Three nomenclatorial changes in Indo-Pacific surgeonfishes (Acanthurinae). Pac. Sci. 41(1-4):54-61. (Ref. 1921)
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, mean 27.9 (based on 1918 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.02344 (0.01427 - 0.03851), b=2.97 (2.83 - 3.11), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species & (Sub)family-body (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 2.5 ±0.25 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (K=0.219; tmax=23).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Moderate vulnerability (39 of 100) .