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Convict Tang - Fiji


Convict Tang - Fiji
Acanthurus triostegus
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Place of origin: 
Widespread Indo-Pacific, but several geographical variations. Coastal reefs and estuaries. Sometimes form large schools in harbours or to feed in areas with aggressive damselfishes, which are then completely overwhelmed by their numbers. Often feeding near freshwater run-offs where certain algae grows on rocks that are grazed. Readily identified by the pale colour and distinctive pattern of vertical black bars. The black mark in front of the pectoral fin-base is variable from a spot or short dash in most populations, but forms a line in the Hawaiian form. Latter is regarded as subspecies Acanthurus triostegus  sandvicensis  by some authors. Length to 26cm.
The common name "surgeonfish" is derived from a characteristic that clearly distinguishes Acanthuridae from other fish families: the spines or "scalpels" on the caudal peduncle, one or more on each side. Based primarily on differences in this characteristic, the family can be divided into three subfamilies: The Acanthurinae, in which the peduncular spine  rests in a groove and can be erected in defence during the fights, the Nasinae and Prionurinae in which the peduncular feature is arranged as one or more fixed blades on each side, that are sharp and elongate with age.

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