Acanthuridae

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Acanthuridae

[ə‚kan′thu̇·rə·dē]
(vertebrate zoology)
The surgeonfishes, a family of perciform fishes in the suborder Acanthuroidei.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Acanthuridae

 

(tangs, surgeonfishes), a family of fishes of the order Perciformes. The Acanthuridae measure 15–60 cm in length. The body, extremely flattened laterally, is covered with tiny, coarse scales. Each side of the caudal stalk has one or two bony shields equipped with a pointed keel, spike, or sharp, movable knifelike spine. The spine, which is concealed under the skin, can be abruptly erected to wound enemies.

The family consists of nine genera, embracing 300 species. Many are brightly and fantastically colored. The genus Acanthurus lives in all oceans except the northern Arctic; the rest are distributed mainly near the coasts of Southeast Asia and western India. No species inhabit seas of the USSR. The Acanthuridae live in shallows near the bottom, most often among coral reefs and rocks. The larvae feed on plankton, and adults are mainly herbivorous. The flesh of the Acanthuridae is edible but of little commercial value. Some species are poisonous.

REFERENCE

Zhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 4, part 1. Moscow, 1971.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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triostegus is a strict herbivore, since all recorded items were algae, confirming the report by Robertson & Allen (2002), who mentioned that acanthurids feed on algae throughout tropical Pacific Ocean reefs.
For example, acanthurids form resident mobile schools with diurnal habits, with variable densities.
With the exception of data on a few commercially important taxa (Munro and Williams, 1985; Williams et al., 2003) and some others (e.g., acanthurids and scarids; Choat and Axe, 1996), there are few data on demographic parameters of coral reef fishes and even less on spatial variation within these parameters.