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Pale Lip Tang


Pale Lip Tang
Acanthurus leucocheilus
Place of origin: 
Western Indian Ocean
Widespread Indo-West Pacific. Shallow protected reef flats and slopes to outer reef walls. Highly variable in colour and adults are best identified by their dark colour (usually) and white spine. Adults regularly show a white vertical band on caudal fin base, mostly when feeding, some individuals have a completely white caudal fin, and juveniles usually have a yellow-white caudal fin. Length to 45cm.
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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