Species Worldwide: 72 (6 genera)
Species In Hawaii: 24
Endemic species in Hawaii: 1 - (Convict tang)
Members of this family can be recognised by having 1 or 2 spines on the caudal peduncle that is used for defence or fighting and can cause painful wounds on other fish (or humans!) if provoked. The spines may even be venomous in some species. The acanthurid fishes usually have highly compressed bodies and a small mouth adapted to grazing algae. Some species also feed on plankton and detritus. The family is commonly recognised on coral reefs around the world and includes, besides the species usually considered the true surgeonfish, also the unicornfish and the sawtails.