Family: ACANTHURIDAE, Surgeonfish, Surgeonfishes, Tangs
teeth: close-set spatulas
Acanthurids are medium sized fishes (~ 20-100 cm) that have deep, compressed bodies; a steep head profile; eye high on side of head; a small protrusible mouth placed low on head; close-set teeth that are variously flattened with toothed edges, or comb-like and incurved; a single un-notched dorsal fin with IV-IX spines, 19-31 rays; anal fin II-III, 19-36 rays; pelvic fins I, 3-5; sides of tail base with a collapsible spine, or a series of cutting plates or bony knobs; scales very small, rough; lateral line complete.
Worldwide this pantropical to warm temperate family has ~80 species in 6 genera of surgeonfishes. Three W Atlantic members of 1 circumtropical genus occur in the Greater Caribbean.
PREPARED BY D ROSS ROBERTSON, AFTER RANDALL (2002)