Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Acanthurus guttatus, Mustard Tang, Spotted Surgeonfish, Whitespotted Surgeonfish

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grey + 2 white bars + dense white dots
C black & white

Acanthurus guttatus Forster, 1801

Whitespotted Surgeonfish, Spotted Surgeonfish, Mustard Tang

Body a deep oval; head profile steep; eye high on the head; mouth small, protrusible, low on head; teeth on jaws fixed, with flattened, notched tips, 12 upper teeth, 14 lower teeth; gill rakers 21-24; dorsal rays IX, 27-30; anal rays III, 23-26; pectoral rays 15-17; pelvic fin I, 5; a single, small depressible spine fits into a groove on the side of the base of the tail; tail fin concave; scales very small, rough; lateral line complete.

Head, body and dorsal and anal fins dark grey brown; a white bar on head behind eye and another on body just behind pectoral base; dorsal, anal and body behind second bar with many small white spots; pelvic fins bright yellow; tail fin pale yellow with a broad black rear edge.

Reaches 26 cm

Habitat: Restricted to shallow surgy areas of seaward reef environments.

Depth range:1-8 m

Widely distributed throughout the tropical Indo-central Pacific; introduced to Florida.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Reef only
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Herbivore
  • Data
  • Benthic microalgae
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Exotic (Introduced)
Regional Endemism
  • Exotic (Introduced)
  • All species
  • Vagrant
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 26
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 8