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Species: Acanthurus achilles, Achilles tang

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black + large orange blotch at rear
C orange & white

Acanthurus achilles Shaw, 1803

Achilles tang

Body an elongate oval; head profile steep; eye high on the head; mouth small, protrusible, low on head; teeth on jaws fixed, with flattened, notched tips, 8-28 on each jaw; gill rakers 16-20; dorsal rays IX, 29-33; anal rays III, 26-29; pectoral rays 16; pelvic fin I, 5; a single 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.

Bluish black with a large elliptical orange patch posteriorly on body; a white slash or short bar covering middle of opercular membrane; tail fin with broad orange bar and white rear margin.

Size: to 26 cm.

Habitat: shallow surge areas of rocky and coral reefs.

Depth: 0-45m.

The tropical central Pacific; in the eastern Pacific it has been seen near Cape San Lucas (Baja California) and inside the western Gulf, and a pelagic juvenile was collected near Clipperton Island.


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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Reef only
  • Corals
  • Rocks
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Herbivore
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Data
Egg Type
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • TEP non-endemic
  • Pacific only (East + Central &/or West)
  • All species
  • "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific)
  • All Pacific (West + Central + East)
Regional Endemism
  • Island (s)
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • Continent
  • Eastern Pacific non-endemic
  • Vagrant
Climate Zone
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 45
Length Max
  • 26