Acanthurus nigricauda Duncker & Mohr, 1929
Epaulette surgeonfish
photo by Greenfield, J.

Family:  Acanthuridae (Surgeonfishes, tangs, unicornfishes), subfamily: Acanthurinae
Max. size:  45.3 cm FL (male/unsexed); max.weight: 2,736.0 g
Environment:  reef-associated; brackish; marine; depth range 0 - 30 m
Distribution:  Indo-Pacific: East Africa, including the Mascarene Islands (Ref. 37792) to the Tuamoto Islands, north to Ryukyu Islands, south to southern Great Barrier Reef. Not occurring in the Red Sea.
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 9-9; Dorsal soft rays (total): 25-28; Anal spines: 3-3; Anal soft rays: 23-26. Color in life dark brown without lines on body or spots on head (one phase is purplish grey); horizontal black band behind upper gill opening absent on juveniles <6 cm SL; elongate purple band may be present anterior to dorsal origin; caudal fin brown; outer third of pectoral fin pale. Species with gizzard-like stomach. Description: Characterized further by having white bar at base of caudal fin; length of caudal spine 2.8-4.5 in head length; greatest depth of body 2.0-2.2 in SL (Ref. 90102).
Biology:  Occurs in clear lagoon and seaward reefs around isolated coral heads. Solitary or in small groups (Ref. 90102). Prefers sandy bottoms of bays and lagoons rather than the coral reefs like most other Acanthuridae. The species is sometimes poisonous (Ref. 4795). Caught with nets (Ref. 30573). Minimum depth reported taken from Ref. 128797.
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 04 May 2010 Ref. (130435)
Threat to humans:  poisonous to eat
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