Unicornfish

Creature Feature – Unicornfish

This week is the letter ‘U’, and today’s featured creature is Unicornfishes.  

Unicornfishes comprise a group of fish in the genus Naso, which is under the family Acanthuridae. You might know other fish in the family, including tangs and surgeonfishes. There are about 19 species within the genus Naso, but only some of them have the iconic “horn” protruding from their face!

unicornfish

Taxonomy

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Order: Acanthuriformes

Family: Acanthuridae

Subfamily: Nasinae

Family: Naso

Unicornfishes Fact File

? Size: Species can grow up to 70cm in length and weigh up to 6kg

? Distribution: They are found across the tropical Indo-Pacific region

? Diet: Species eat small plankton, and sometimes algae, during the daylight hours

? Behaviour: Researchers are not sure why certain species have developed a horn but one theory is that it is used in mate selection

? IUCN Status: Least Concern. However, Like many species, unicornfishes rely on healthy, sustainable reef ecosystems. Coral reefs are currently under threat from climate change, and there is no healthy future for our reefs, and their inhabitants, such as unicornfish, unless we act now to reduce greenhouse gas pollution