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Page history last edited by Andrew Ratcliff 10 years, 4 months ago


Andrew Ratcliff



The Surgeonfish is a species of fish that lives in tropical and subtropical waters around the world. They mainly live in Coral Reefs, they can grow to 1 metre long although most only get to be 15-40 centimetres long. There are approximately 80 species of Surgeonfish. A defining characteristic is scalpel like spines on either side of the tail fin. The dorsal, anal and caudal fins are very long and extend most of the length of the body. Their small mouthes have a row of teeth used for grazing algae. They sometimes will feed alone but other times will feed and travel in schools. Probably the most famous Surgeonfish is the the Regal Tang. It is famous because it is Dory in the movie "Finding Nemo".

 Regal Tang Surgeonfish http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paracanthurus_hepatus. Wikipedia Community last modified May 25 2013


Surgeonfishes live in coral habitats around the world in tropical and subtropical regions. They are usually found on terrace seaward reefs from 2-40 metres under the water. They like areas with rock on which lots of algae grows. They like water temperatures between 24-26 Celsius.

Predator Adaptations

 Surgeonfish teeth http://australianmuseum.net.au/Lined-Bristletooth-Ctenochaetus-striatus-Quoy-Gaimard-1825/ Australia Museum last modified March 15 2013 Used June 3

Surgeonfishes use their small teeth to take algae off rocks and corals. The only animals they will eat are Zooplankton, small creatures that drift along the underwater currents. Their mouthes have one row of sharp closely set teeth. They usually live in couples or in groups of 10-12.

Prey Adaptions

Surgeonfishes have a sharp caudal spines at the base of their caudal fin. This spine contains toxins that will cause extreme pain to small predators and irritation and pain to humans. The caudal spine is in a groove below the skin and can be extended. When the Surgeonfish is threatened it will extended it's caudal spine and try to puncture the threatening predator. Surgeonfishes are commonly prey to Tuna, Bar Jacks and Tiger Grouper. Because Surgeonfishes are often found in groups, if one predator were to attack the group it would quickly be surrounded and injured.


Coral and Surgeonfishes share a mutual relationship. The Surgeonfish's removes Algae from the coral so it can thrive and the coral provides a safe habitat for the fish fish and a place where algae grows plentifully. Epulopiscium fishelsoni is a bacteria that is found in the intestines of surgeonfishes that probably helps it break down the algae it consumes. Although little is know about this bacteria it is thought that the relationship is mutual; the surgeonfish provides a home and the bacteria and (presumably) helps the fish break down algae.

Species Comparison

 Parrot fish Wikipedia community last modified May 21 2013 Used June 3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parrotfish 

The Surgeonfish is comparable to the Parrot Fish. The Surgeonfish as well as the Parrot Fish eat algae and live on the coral reef. Both fish help the reef survive by eating algae and therefore preventing it from killing the corals. The Parrot Fish also has a very colourful body. Parrot Fish grow to about 30-50 centimetres in length and Surgeonfish grow to about 15-40 centimetres but some species can be much larger. Unlike Surgeonfishes, Parrot fish will eat Coral Polypes and digest the stone, wich will be excreted as sand. A single Parrot Fish can create 200 pound of sand in one year.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paracanthurus_hepatus. Regal tang Wikipedia last modified May 25 2013 created by Wikipedia community. Used May 29 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acanthuridae Acanthuridae, Wikipedia community last  modified April 11 2013 Used May 30 2013 and before

http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Paracanthurus_hepatus/ Thurston, A 2011. Paracanthurus Hepatus. Used May 30 2013

http://darwinsreef.pbworks.com/w/page/66265201/Parrot%20Fish Francis' page. 2013 Parrotfish. Used May 30 2013

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/Surgeonfish/ Aquaticcommunity.com 2004-2008 Used May 29 or 30 2013 

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