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Lipstick Tang - Hawaii/Melanesia


Lipstick Tang - Hawaii/Melanesia
Naso lituratus
Place of origin: 
Central Pacific
Widespread West and central Pacific. Replaced by Naso elegans in the Indian Ocean and Red Sea. Coastal and inner reef flats and slopes. Adults usually in small groups or schools. Juveniles on shallow rocky reefs, sometimes in small aggregations mixed with other small acanthurids. Adults are identified by their orange double peduncular spines. Distinguished from Naso elegans by the broad black band along dorsal fin base and orange anal and ventral fins versus yellow dorsal and dusky ventral and anal fins. Both species can be found together in Bali. Length to 45cm, excluding the caudal filaments.
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 spineĀ  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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