Bristletooths, Surgeon Fishes, Surgeonfishes, Tangs, Unicornfishes
Compiler and date details
Gerald R. Allen, Norbert J. Cross, Connie J. Allen & Douglass F. Hoese
Worldwide, the Acanthuridae comprise 80 species in six genera (Nelson 2006). The Australian fauna includes 47 species and all the known genera.
Surgeonfishes are mainly inhabitants of tropical coral reefs worldwide, although species of Prionurus are associated with rocky reefs in temperate or upwelling tropical areas. They are schooling fishes that graze on benthic algae. The body is ovate and laterally compressed, but the most distinctive feature is a spine on the caudal fin base that folds into a groove when not erect or, in Naso and Prionurus, a series of 1–6 fixed keel-like spines. The maximum length is about 50 cm.
Acanthurids have been reviewed in a series of generic papers by Randall (1955a, 1955b — Ctenochaetus, 1955c — Zebrasoma and Paracanthurus, 1956 — Acanthurus) and Smith (1966, Naso). The majority of species have been diagnosed and illustrated in colour by Randall et al. (1990, 1997) and all species have been dealt with in Randall (2001a) and Kuiter & Debelius (2001). Randall (2001b, 2001c) presented keys to species and treated some Australian species. Naso maculatus Randall & Struhsaker, 1981, known from the Chesterfield Ils and Lord Howe Is., is likely to occur within mainland Australian waters.
Kuiter, R.H. & Debelius, H. 2001. Surgeonfishes, Rabbitfishes and Their Relatives. A comprehensive guide to Acanthuroidei. Chorleywood, U.K. : TMC Publishing 208 pp.
Nelson, J.S. 2006. Fishes of the World. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 601 pp.
Randall, J.E. 1955a. An analysis of the genera of surgeon fishes (family Acanthuridae). Pacific Science 9(3): 359-367
Randall, J.E. 1955b. A revision of the surgeonfish genus Ctenochaetus, family Acanthuridae, with descriptions of five new species. Zoologica (New York) 40(4): 149-166 figs 1-3 pls 1-2
Randall, J.E. 1955c. A revision of the surgeon fish genera Zebrasoma and Paracanthurus. Pacific Science 9(3): 396-412
Randall, J.E. 1956. A revision of the surgeon fish genus Acanthurus. Pacific Science 10(2): 159-235 figs 1-23 pls 1-3
Randall, J.E. 2001a. Surgeonfishes of Hawai'i and the World. Honolulu : Mutual Publishing and Bishop Museum Press 125 pp.
Randall, J.E. 2001b. Zanclidae, Acanthuridae. pp. 3651-3683 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218.
Randall, J.E. 2001c. Naso reticulatus, a new unicornfish (Perciformes: Acanthuridae) from Taiwan and Indonesia, with a key to the species of Naso. Zoological Studies 40(2): 170-176
Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.
Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.
Randall, J.E. & Struhsaker, P. 1981. Naso maculatus, a new species of acanthurid fish from the Hawaiian Islands and Japan. Copeia 1981: 553-558
Smith, J.L.B. 1966. Fishes of the sub-family Nasinae with a synopsis of the Prionurinae. Ichthyological Bulletin, Department of Ichthyology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 32: 635-682 figs 1-13 pls 103-104
Common Name References
Pollard, J. (ed.) 1980. G.P. Whitley's Handbook of Australian Fishes. North Sydney : Jack Pollard Publishing Pty Ltd 629 pp.  (Surgeon Fishes)
Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.  (Surgeonfishes)