Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Acanthuriformes
(Surgeonfishes) > Acanthuridae
(Surgeonfishes, tangs, unicornfishes) > Acanthurinae
Etymology: Acanthurus: Greek, akantha = thorn + Greek, oura = tail (Ref. 45335).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; brackish; reef-associated; depth range 1 - 30 m (Ref. 9710), usually 2 - 15 m (Ref. 27115). Tropical; 23°C - 28°C (Ref. 27115); 30°N - 24°S, 39°E - 143°W
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.
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 18.4  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 40.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3145)
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.
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).
Probably spawn in pairs (Ref. 240).
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. 125652)
Threat to humans
Poisonous to eat (Ref. 4795)
Fisheries: commercial; aquarium: commercial
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingNutrientsMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 25.3 - 29.3, mean 28.4 °C (based on 2616 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.02344 (0.01981 - 0.02774), b=2.95 (2.91 - 2.99), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 3.0 ±0.40 se; based on food items.
Generation time: 1.8 ( na - na) years. Estimated as median ln(3)/K based on 1 growth studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Fishing Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (25 of 100) .
Climate Vulnerability (Ref. 125649
): (0 of 100) .
Nutrients (Ref. 124155
): Calcium = 85.2 [24.8, 222.9] mg/100g ; Iron = 1.04 [0.36, 2.92] mg/100g ; Protein = 17.9 [16.7, 19.0] % ; Omega3 = 0.251 [0.098, 0.637] g/100g ; Selenium = 19.1 [5.8, 67.2] μg/100g ; VitaminA = 37 [9, 140] μg/100g ; Zinc = 2.67 [0.85, 5.31] mg/100g (wet weight);