Tag Archive: Surgeonfishes and tangs

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii  (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Acanthuridae (Surgeonfishes, Tangs, Unicornfishes)

Genus/species   Zebrasoma scopas

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Zebrasoma spp. is a small genus of tangs characterized by round, laterally compressed bodies, large dorsal sail-like fins, and pointed snouts. Because of their snouts, they are able to eat filamentous algae that grow in spots other fishes cannot reach, a talent that also makes them popular in aquariums large and small. Males and females are similar. Color can be variable; most often are shades of gray and brown with a greenish tinge running along the dorsal spine.

A distinguishing feature of surgeonfishes, tangs, and unicornfishes is a modified scale on the caudal peduncle, which forms a scalpel-like sharp blade often covered with toxic slime. These spines are used for species recognition, defense, and competition for mates. They are white in the Brown Scopes Tang. Note: Acanthus means “thorn” or “spine”. Length to 20 cm (8 in)


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Widespread throughout the Indo-Pacific from Africa to Japan in lagoons and outer reefs to 50 m (150 ft). Particularly well suited to large aquaria where they can roam.

Brown Scopas Tang

DIET IN THE WILD: Z. scopas graze on algae, usually in groups of 20 individuals. Its numerous, small pharyngeal teeth may have evolved in response to a shift in diet from macroalgae to filamentous algae.

REPRODUCTION: Group and pair spawning have been observed scattering eggs and sperm into the water column.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Least Concern (LC)

REMARKS: Zebrasoma spp. are known to irritate some stony corals to induce the release of zooxanthellae, evidently a sailfin delicacy. 


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Philippine Coral Reef and Hidden Reef 2018

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink wp.me/p1DZ4b-BO

fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/Zebrasoma-scopas.html

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/178005/0

EOL eol.org/pages/204517/details

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/4770058557/in/set-72157625992053826/

fishbase http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Zebrasoma-scopas.html


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Superclass: Osteichthyes
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Acanthuridae (Surgeonfishes, Tangs, and Unicornfishes)

Genus/species; Acanthurus leucosternon

Acanthurus leucosternon 13140534045_d29f009b4f_b

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Blue with a white chest. Head black with a broad white band from pectoral-fin base to throat.Also has a white band at base of lips. Dorsal fin yellow (except white margin and black submarginal line). Anal and pelvic fins white. Common length 19 cm (7.5 inches).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Indian Ocean in shallow, clear coastal and island reefs, 0.5-25 m (1.5-80 feet) . Usually on reef flats and along upper seaward slopes; sometimes in huge aggregations.

DIET IN THE WILD: benthic algae.

REPRODUCTION: Monogamous, open water/substratum egg scatterers


Acanthurus leucosternon13140818894_48010cf40c_b

Animal attractions Rich Ross



flickr www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/2978892415/in/set-72157…

WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1dQ

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/1257

EOL eol.org/pages/206882/details

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