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Surgeonfishes and Relatives: Acanthuroidei

Behavior And Reproduction, Surgeonfishes And Their Relatives And People, Lined Surgeonfish (acanthurus Lineatus): Species AccountsPHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS, GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATU

YELLOW TANG (Zebrasoma flavescens): SPECIES ACCOUNTS

Surgeonfishes and their relatives have small to medium-sized bodies that are narrow from side to side and may be disk-like, oval, or slightly long. Many of these fishes have sharp venomous spines or ridges. Many of these fishes are very colorful.

Surgeonfishes and their relatives live in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans.

Most surgeonfishes and their relatives live in shallow coral and rocky reefs. Some species live in estuaries (EHS-chew-air-eez), or the areas where rivers meet the sea, or even farther upstream into freshwater. One species lives in the open sea.

Most surgeonfishes and their relatives eat bottom-dwelling algae and invertebrates (in-VER-teh-brehts), or animals without backbones. Algae (AL-jee) are plantlike growths that live in water and have no true roots, stems, or leaves. Some species of these fishes can crush shells. One species eats mostly plants, and one species eats jellylike plankton, which is microscopic plants and animals drifting in water.

Surgeonfishes and their relatives are not threatened or endangered.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded Vertebrates