Acanthuridae – Surgeonfishes Tangs
Tangs or Surgeonfish belong to the family of Acanthuridae. They are classified into six genera which include Acanthurus, Paracanthurus, Ctenochaetus, Naso, Zebrasoma, and Prionurus. Tangs are usually referred to as Surgeonfish or Doctorfish. They can be identified by their characteristic spine or spines on the side of their bodies near the tail.
Each side bears either a single, sharp, hinged spine, or one or two immobile, keel-like, razor sharp plates. This family uses these spines as a means of protection by rubbing or brushing up against their aggressors in a quick sideways motion. Extreme caution should be used when handling this fish family. The characteristic razor sharp spines can inflict deep cuts or wounds, especially from that of larger specimens. The potential for minor or serious infections to arise from a cut to one’s self warrants paying close attention to them and treating them properly.
Speceis of this family normally remain small or medium, with a few adult species reaching larger sizes to about 15 inches. However, the Unicornfishes (named for the single horn-like spine on the front of their heads) reach an average length of 15 to 20 inches, with the Naso unicornis species sometimes growing to 24 inches.
|Common Name||Scientific Name|
|Powder Blue Tang/Surgeonfish||Acanthurus leucosternon|
|Lieutenant Surgeonfish||Acanthurus tennenti|
|Lined Surgeonfish/Clown Tang||Acanthurus lineatus|
|Convict Surgeonfish||Acanthurus triostegus|
|Dusky/Brown Surgeonfish||Acanthurus nigrofuscus|
|Whitespotted Surgeonfish||Acanthurus guttatus|
|Epaulette Surgeonfish||Acanthurus nigricauda|
|Twospot Surgeonfish||Ctenochaetus binotatus|
|Brown Tang||Zebrasoma scopas|
|Sailfin Tang||Zebrasoma veliferum/desjardinii|
|Orange-spine Unicornfish||Naso lituratus|
|Bignose Unicornfish||Naso vlamingii|
|Spotted Unicornfish||Naso brevirostris|
|Bluespine Unicornfish||Naso unicornis|
|Spotted surgeonfish/Goldring Bristletooth||Ctenochaetus strigosus|
|Palelipped/Whitespined surgeonfish||Acanthurus leucocheilus|
|Black-spot/Eye-spot surgeonfish||Acanthurus bariene|
|Indian Ocean mimic surgeonfish||Acanthurus tristis|
|White-freckled Tang/Spotface surgeonfish||Acanthurus maculiceps|