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«English Name: Blue surgeonfish Family: ACANTHURIDAE Local Name: Noo kaalhu Order: Perciformes Size: Max. 23 cm Specimen: MRS/0058/86 Distinctive ...»

Acanthurus leucosternon Bennett. 1832

English Name: Blue surgeonfish Family: ACANTHURIDAE

Local Name: Noo kaalhu Order: Perciformes

Size: Max. 23 cm Specimen: MRS/0058/86

Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 9 spines and 30 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 28 rays. Pectoral

fin with 2 spines and 14 rays. Pelvic fin with I spine and 5 rays. Strongly compressed oval shaped body. First dorsal fin and anal spine very short. Mouth small. Caudal fin emarginate.

Colour: Body blue with a black head and a white chin. Dorsal fin yellow with a black sub-marginal line. Caudal fin with two dark cross bands. Upper and lower edges of caudal fin white. Pectoral translucent yellow.

Habitat and Biology: A shallow-water outer reef species found to a depth of 10 m. Occasionally found in large feeding aggregations. These schools overwhelm territorial damselfishes guarding their private pastures of algae.

Distribution: Indian Ocean.

Remarks: Acanthurus leucosternon is a typical surgeonfish for the Indian Ocean. It is a very popular species among the aquarists, mainly due to its pleasing colour patterns.

310 Acanthurus lineatus (Linnaeus, 1758) English Name: Lined surgeonfish Family: ACANTHURIDAE Local Name: Fashuvi libaas Order: Perciformes Size: Max. 38 cm Specimen: MRS/0410/92 Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 9 spines and 27-29 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 25-28 rays.

Pectoral rays 16. Adult body depth about 2.2 in standard length. Caudal peduncle spine very long.

Caudal fin lunate.

Colour: Distinctly and beautifully coloured, with alternate black edged yellow and blue stripes.

Habitat and Biology: An inshore species of coral reefs or rocky substrates exposed to wave action. Feeds on benthic algae. Territorial and very aggressive.

Distribution: Indo-Pacific.

Remarks: Acanthurus lineatus is a very common inhabitant of shallow reef flats. This beautifully marked surgeonfish is very popular among aquarists and divers. The caudal spine is apparently venomous.

311 Acanthurus tennenti Gunther, 1861 English Name: Lieutenant surgeonfish Family: ACANTHURIDAE Local Name: Dhefah kaalhu Order: Perciformes Size: Max. 31 cm Specimen: MRS/0382/92 Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 9 spines and 23-24 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 22-23 rays. Pectoral rays 16. Body depth 1.9-2.2 in standard length. Body becoming more elongate with increasing size.

Colour: Brown. Black marks behind eye: horseshoe-shaped in juveniles but becoming two separate stripes in adults. Caudal fin with white margin. Black area around caudal spine edged with pale blue.

Habitat and Biology: Found on coral reefs at depths up to 20 m. Forms small schools. Grazes on benthic algae.

Distribution: Western Indian Ocean.

Remarks: Acanthurus tennenti is a fairly common shallow water surgeonfish. The colour of the sides can be changed from very pale brown (when the black ‘ear-stripes’ stand out very clearly) to a very dark brown (when they are almost invisible).

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Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 9 spines and 23-26 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 23-26 rays.

Pectoral rays 17. Body depth about 2.3, snout 7.9-8.2 in standard length. Body moderately elongate.

Mouth small. Caudal fin lunate.

Colour: Uniform chocolate brown; caudal fin white. A dark spot present at rear base of dorsal fin and another below axial of pectoral fin.

–  –  –

Distribution: Indo-Pacific.

Remarks: Acanthurus rhompsoni occurs in schools and is very common on current-swept reefs.

A. phillippinus Herre is a synonym.

–  –  –

Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 9 spines and 23 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 20 rays. Pectoral fin with 2 spines and 13 rays. A compressed body with a small mouth. First dorsal spine short, about one third of second dorsal spine. First anal spine short. Pectoral fin shorter than head. A lancet-like spine on caudal peduncle which folds into a deep horizontal groove.

Colour: Greenish grey dorsally, shading to white below, with six narrow black bars on head and body.

Habitat and Biology: An abundant inshore reef species which feeds on filamentous algae. Often seen in large feeding schools; young common in tidepools.

Distribution: Indo-Pacific and Eastern Pacific.

Remarks: Acanthurus triostegus is a very common species in the Maldives. This species is of little interest among aquarists.

–  –  –

Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 9 spines and 25-27 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 23-25 rays.

Pectoral rays 16 or 17. Body depth 2.0-2.3 in standard length. Caudal spine 4.5-5.5 in head length. Caudal fin lunate. Gill rakers 16-22.

Colour: Pale grey; dull yellow around eye; dorsal and anal fins dull yellow with four longitudinal broad blue bands; outer third of pectoral fin yellow; base of caudal fin often dull white.

Habitat and Biology: Usually observed in deeper lagoons dominated by sand, generally at depths greater than 10 m. Feeds on benthic algae.

Distribution: Indo-Pacific and Tropical Eastern Pacific.

Remarks: Acanthurus xanthopterus is perhaps the largest of the surgeonfishes. Occurs in schools and is very common in deep lagoons (’vilu’). This species has been previously called as A. matoides.





–  –  –

Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 8 spines and 24-27 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 22-25 rays.

Pectoral rays 15-16. Body depth 1.9-2.2 in standard length. Teeth movable. Caudal fin lunate.

Colour: Orangish brown with longitudinal lines on body and blue dots on head and chest; two black spots at the base of soft dorsal and anal fin.

Habitat and Biology: Found in a variety of reef habitats.

Distribution: Indo-Pacific.

Remarks: There are three rather similar dull brown species of Ctenochaetus found in the Maldives, but C. hinotatus is easily distinguished from others by its two dark spots. Differs from Acanthurus spp. by having movable teeth and less spines on the dorsal fin.

–  –  –

Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 8 spines and 27-3 1 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 24-28 rays.

Pectoral rays 16-17. Body depth 1.9-2.3 in standard length. Teeth movable. Caudal fin lunate.

Colour: Dark brown with blue longitudinal lines on body and orange dots on head. Dark blue bands on dorsal and anal fins.

Habitat and Biology: Ubiquitous, in various habitats, from protected lagoons to ocean reefs. Occur singly or in small to very large aggregations at depths up to 30 m. Detritus feeder with comb-like teeth.

Distribution: Indo-Pacific.

Remarks: Ctenochaetus striatus is one of the commonest reef fishes, but because of its dull colouration can easily be overlooked. It is rather similar to C. strigosus (next page) but can be distinguished on the basis of colouration. caudal fin shape and fin counts.

–  –  –

Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 8 spines and 25-27 rays.. Anal fin with 3 spines and 22-25 rays. Pectoral rays 15-16. Body depth 1.7-2.0 in standard length. Teeth movable. Caudal fin slightly emarginate.

Colour: Dark brown with pale blue dots on head and body, the dots sometimes join to form irregular lines;

eye rimmed with yellow. Juveniles bright yellow.

Habitat and Biology: Occurs on coral reefs to depths of 50 m. Found in large aggregations.

Distribution: Indo-Pacific.

Remarks: Ctenochaetus strigosus is very similar to C.striatus (previous page), but the two are easily distinguished in the field on the basis of tail shape. Colour and caudal fin shape varies with locality.

–  –  –

Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 6 spines and 27-29 rays. Anal fin with 2 spines and 27-29 rays.

Pectoral rays 16-17. Body depth varying from 2.0 in standard length of subadults to 2.7 in adults. Adults with long bony projection in front of the eyes extending well in front of the mouth. Profile of snout between base of horn and mouth almost vertical. Caudal fin truncate to slightly rounded.

Colour: Dark brown with pale blue dots on head and body, the dots sometimes join to form irregular lines.

Eye rimmed with yellow. Juveniles bright yellow.

Habitat and Biology: Common on coral reefs up to depths of 40 m. Feeds on benthic algae when young, shifting principally to zooplankton when adult.

Distribution: Indo-Pacific.

Remarks: Naso brevirostris is a common and distinctive member of the Maldivian reef fish fauna. Its scientific name (“short rostrum”) is based on a small specimen with a short horn.

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Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 6 spines and 26-29 rays. Anal fin with 2 spines and 27-30 rays.

Pectoral rays 17-18. Body depth varying from 2.0 in standard length of subadults to 2.75 in adults. Dorsal profile of head sloping and smoothly convex. Caudal fin emarginate in young, truncate in adults.

Colour: Dark brown to pale bluish grey dorsally, yellow brown ventrally. Edges of opercle and preopercle often dark.

Habitat and Biology: Common on deeper waters up to depths of 150 m; often in large aggregations. Feeds on larger components of the zooplankton such as crab larvae, arrow-worms and pelagic tunicates.

Distribution: Indo-Pacific.

Remarks: Males of Naso hexacanthus show a large pale blue area on upper head and dorsoanterior body and some pale blue vertical lines and spots anteriorly on sides of body during courtship.

–  –  –

Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 6 spines and 27-30 rays. Anal fin with 2 spines and 28-30 rays.

Pectoral rays 16-17. Body depth 2.0-2.4 in standard length (subadults deeper-bodied). No bumps or protuberances on snout or forehead. Two pairs of sharp keels on slender caudal peduncle.

Colour: Brown with a curved yellow band on snout, bright orange caudal spines and a large orange-yellow dorsal fin.

Habitat and Biology: Occurs in shallow water and is closely tied to coral reefs. Usually solitary.

Feeds primarily on benthic algae.

Distribution: Indo-Pacific.

Remarks: Naso lituratus is one of the most beautiful of Maldivian reef fishes, with its very smart grey and orange colouration. The presence of a large orange-yellow dorsal fin and a black band in caudal fin is typical for Indian Ocean specimens. Of great interest among aquarists and divers.

–  –  –

Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 6 spines and 26-27 rays. Anal fin with 2 spines and 26-29 rays. Pectoral rays 17-19. Body depth varying from 2.1 in standard length of young to 2.6 in adults.

Both dorsal and anal fins elevated. In adults, bump on snout overhanging mouth, and filaments extending from caudal fin corners.

Colour: Dark purple brown with vertical blue lines on sides, and blue dots above and below. A broad irregular deep violet band extending forward from the eye. Colour can change dramatically with mood.

Habitat and Biology: Found in a variety of reef habitats, but most often seen in outer reef areas in open water near drop-offs at depths up to 50 m. Feeds on midwater zooplankton.

Distribution: Indo-Pacific.

Remarks: Naso vlamingii is a very common inhabitant of Maldivian reefs. Although it feeds on zooplankton, it readily takes bread from divers and snorkellers. Often plays in divers’ bubbles.

–  –  –

Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 9 spines and 19-20 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 18-19 rays.

Pectoral rays 16. Pelvic fins with 1 spine and 3 rays. Body depth of adults about 2.3 in standard length;

caudal spine about 4.0 in head length. Caudal fin of juveniles slightly rounded; of adults truncate with lobe tips slightly projecting.

Colour: Body bright blue. Tail yellow, and black markings on sides.

Habitat and Biology: Typically found on the reef edge in clear outer reefs or channels where there is substantial current. Feeds on zooplankton. Groups of small individuals are usually associated with heads of branching corals.

Distribution: Indo-Pacific.

Remarks: Paracanthurus heparus is one of the most beautiful of all reef fishes. It is not common in the Maldives. Being a rare but beautiful species, it is advised not to catch it.

–  –  –

Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 4 spines and 27-31 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 22-24 rays.

Pectoral rays 15-17. Body depth 1.8-2.0 in standard length. Dorsal and anal fins strongly elevated. No bristles on anterior to caudal spine.

Colour: A pattern of dark bars, the two most prominent on head (obscure on dark fish), yellow vertical lines on upper body, breaking into spots below, and small whitish spots on head and chest. Juveniles with yellow and white bars except for black ones posteriorly and two on head.

Habitat and Biology: Occurs in coral reefs and rocky bottoms, generally in depths of less than 20 m. Often seen in pairs roaming on reefs and lagoons. Feeds on benthic algae.

Distribution: Indian Ocean.

Remarks: Zehrasoma desjardinii is unique to Indian Ocean. This species is very closely related to Z. veliferum of the Pacific. Some authors consider both as the same species. Of interest to aquarists.

–  –  –

Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 4-5 spines and 23-25 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 19-2 1 rays.

Pectoral rays 14-17. Body depth 1.5-1.7 in standard length. Dorsal and anal fins elevated. Adults with an oval patch of brush-like setae posteriorly on side of the body.

Colour: Dark olive brown with very fine longitudinal wavy pale lines breaking into dots on nape, chest and head. Sheath of caudal spine white.

Habitat and Biology: A common reef species occurring more on protected than exposed reefs at depths up to 20 m. Occurs singly or in small groups. Feeds on benthic algae.

Distribution: Indo-Pacific.

Remarks: Zehrasoma scopas is one of the commonest of Maldivian reef fishes, but it is easily overlooked because of its rather sombre colouration. Of little interest to aquarists.

325



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