Bristletooths, Surgeon Fishes, Surgeonfishes, Tangs, Unicornfishes
Compiler and date details
3 May 2013 - Gerald R. Allen, Douglass F. Hoese, Norbert J. Cross, Connie J. Allen, & Matthew M. Lockett
20 December 2006 - 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 46 or 47 species and six additional species from Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island 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. Winterbottom (1993) and Guiasu & Winterbottom (1993) discussed relationships between genera.
Because many of the genera and species were some of the first fishes described, there are numerous problems relating to nomenclature in this family. For stability we have largely followed the nomenclature outlined by Randall (1955a,b, c, 1956).
Randall, J.E. 1955c. A revision of the surgeon fish genera Zebrasoma and Paracanthurus. Pacific Science 9(4): 396-412 figs 1-8 pl. 1
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. 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.
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
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