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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Place of origin:Western Indian Ocean
Widespread Indo-West Pacific, but mainly occurs in oceanic locations. Usually found schooling in shallow depths over reef flats that are subject to surge or currents. A deep-bodied species that is easily identified by colour. The numerous white spots are thought to serve as camouflage when swimming near breaking waves where surface waters mix with small air-bubbles. Length to 26cm.