Yellowtail Surgeonfish: Prionurus laticlavius
Surgeonfish of the family: Acanthuridae are so-called because of a hinged scalpel-like spine, actually a highly modified scale, on both sides of the tail. They are also known as doctorfishes or tangs. When the fish is moving, the spine can be slashed out at other fishes, either to warn or injure. These fishes are not known to attack divers, but they should be handled carefully. Of the seventy five species of surgeonfish, four are found in North America, among them the Blue Tang and Yellow-Tailed Surgeonfish, seen here in a rather large school. Surgeonfish have 3 color phases; juvenile, preadult, and adult, appearing yellow all over in the juvenile stage. They are bottom-dwelling fish. I photographed this school of Yellowtailed Surgeonfish in the Sea of Cortez. The school of Yellowtailed Surgeon was very large, yet moved quite quickly. Can you see the diver in the background through the school of yellowtail surgeonfish?
Print Number - TF018
Limited Edition signed color photography for sale by Stephen Brunson
Yellowtail Surgeonfish, Prionurus laticlavius Statistics:
Size: Up to 14 Inches in Length
Habitat: Shallow coral and rock reefs
Lifespan: 12 - 15 years
Diet: Ocean floor Algae, scraped off rocks or coral
Distribution: Ranges from New York to Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and most abundantly, the West Indies
Habit: Active during the day, usually in large schools.