Hawai'i Coral Reef Network

Fishes of Hawai'i 

 Family Acanthuridae - Surgeonfishes

Acanthurus achilles - Achilles tang - Päku`iku`i wav.gif (916 bytes)

Description: Black body with a bright orange teardrop-shape patch on knife; has a white marking at the edge of the gill cover and a high number of dorsal soft rays (29 - 33).
Size: to 25.4 cm
Habitat: found inshore in moderately turbulent water on exposed reef areas.
Diet: herbivorous

Acanthurus blochii (mata) - Ringtail surgeonfish - Pualu wav.gif (916 bytes)

Description: Dark greenish gray with close-set lengthwise rows of small lighter gray spots on the body. The caudal fin is dark blue with indistinct dark vertical wavy lines in the middle and a white band at the base; prominent yellow spot behind the eye.
Size: to 42.5 cm
Habitat: clear water well offshore and away from harbors.
Diet: herbivorous

Acanthurus dussumieri - Eye-stripe surgeonfish - Palani wav.gif (916 bytes)

Description: the palani is a colorful fish with its black-spotted, bright blue caudal fin, fine blue lines on the body, yellow interocular band, white caudal spine broadly edged in black, and yellow dorsal and anal fins banded with blue.
Size: to 45 cm
Habitat: usually found resting under ledges, preferring depths of 6 meters or more.
Diet: herbivorous

Acanthurus leucopareius - Whitebar surgeonfish - Maiko wav.gif (916 bytes)

Description: this species has a prominent white bar behind the eye and a second on the caudal peduncle. Grayish brown in color with faint bluish longitudinal lines visible. On the upper part of the body these lines consist of rows of spots.
Size: to 25.4 cm
Habitat: often found in schools, either alone or with the convict tang, and is common close to shore in shallow water
Diet: herbivorous

Acanthurus olivaceus - Orangeband surgeonfish - Na`ena`e wav.gif (916 bytes)

Description: adults are identified by their blue-ringed bright orange "bar" posterior to opercle, above pectoral. Color from light olive to cleanly divided light and dark to completely dark.
Size: to 30 cm
Habitat: common on reefs where much of the bottom is sandy
Diet: herbivorous

Acanthurus nigrofuscus - Lavender tang - Mä`i`i`i wav.gif (916 bytes)

Description: brown but with a definite lavender tinge and small dull orange dots on face bluish border on anal fins.
Size: to 20 cm
Habitat: commonly seen schooling with convict tangs in shallow water close to shore.
Diet: herbivorous .

Acanthurus nigroris - Bluelined surgeonfish - Maiko wav.gif (916 bytes)
Description: dark brownish gray with fine somewhat wavy blue longitudinal lines on body and two small dark spots above and below the base of the tail. A white band is usually evident at the base of the tail.
Size: to 25.4 cm
Habitat: commonly seen on reefs at depths of 6 meters or more.
Diet: herbivorous

Acanthurus triostegus - Convict tang - Manini wav.gif (916 bytes)

Description: light greenish to yellowish-white in color with 5 vertical black bars
Size: to 30 cm
Habitat: common everywhere except in areas of heavy coral growth, they often browse the reef in large dense schools. Juveniles are found in tide pools and inlets even where the water is brackish.
Diet: grazers on algae. .

Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis - Black surgeonfish

Description: looks black, close look shows venuous lines covering fish, lobate dorsal and anal fins, juveniles are orange with thicker lines
Size: to 27.5 cm
Habitat: juveniles are found in areas with lots of coral from 60ft to 100 ft in depth, and adults are found in shallower depths
Diet: detritivore

Ctenochaetus strigosus - Goldring surgeonfish - Kole wav.gif (916 bytes)
Description: orange ring around eye, brown body with horizontal white stripes
Size: to 17.5 cm
Habitat: very common on shallow reefs to 150 ft +
Diet: detritivore

Naso lituratus - Orangespine unicorn - Kala wav.gif (916 bytes)
Description: no horn; orange spots around blades, yellow around eyes and orange lips; tail can have streamers
Size: to 45 cm
Habitat: common in shallow waters
Diet: herbivore: feeds mainly on brown algae; Sargassum, Dictyota and others

Naso unicornis - Bluespine unicorn - Kala wav.gif (916 bytes)

Description: grayish body with horn; blue spots around blades
Size: to 67 cm
Habitat: can school in small groups and sometimes be found in shallow waters
Diet: herbivores: feeds primarily on coarse leafy brown algae

Hawaiian Uses

Zanclus cornutus - Moorish idol - Kihikihi wav.gif (916 bytes)

Description: orange on snout; yellow on side; eye well above mouth
Size: up to 20cm
Habitat: Indo-Pacific and tropical regions; shallow to relatively deep waters
Diet: omnivorous but feeds more on sponges than on algae

Zebrasoma flavescens - Yellow tang - Lau`i Pala wav.gif (916 bytes)
Description: all yellow, white blades
Size: to 20cm
Habitat: from shore to 150 ft, more common on leeward sides of island
Diet: filamentous algae on hard substrata

Last update: 1/25/2005