Common family name
Oval-shaped, laterally compressed body, tapering towards the tail. Smallmouths. The caudal fin is usually lunate-shaped. Very long anal fins. Pair of spines either side of the base of the tail which are very sharp – hence the name. Very colourful with exquisite patterns.
Acanthurus genus consists of 38 species. Found on all coral reefs, grazing alone or in schools. Use the sharp spines for defence and can be poisonous. They can change their colouration depending on the area where they are feeding – they are lighter over sandy areas and brighter over reefs. Pelagic spawners.
Feeds on algae, detritus and plankton. Herbivores.
Occurs in all temperate and tropical oceans of the world.
Black surgeonfish - Acanthurus gahhm
Palette surgeonfish - Paracanthurus hepatus
Sohal surgeonfish - Acanthurus sohal
© Johan Boshoff