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Chocolate surgeonfish

Acanthurus pyroferus

Description: The juvenile and adult Chocolate surgeonfish (Acanthurus pyroferus), also known as the Mimic surgeonfish or Orange- gilled surgeonfish, are different in appearance. The juvenile has a yellow oval body with blue highlights around the eyes and gill covers. The adult has a disk-like shaped body that is yellow to tan or purplish black with red-orange highlights around the eyes and pectoral fins. Like other surgeon fish, they have a pair of sharp spines on either side of their tail that lies flat in a groove.

Size: Adults reach 10 inches (25 cm) in length.

Behavior: When in danger, the Chocolate surgeonfish will flip its tail and the spines pop out like knives.

Diet: These herbivores feed primarily on benthic algae.

Reproduction: The male changes colors and performs shimmering movements to attract a female. Once the attraction is made, the pair rise together toward the surface in an arc shaped path, simultaneously releasing their sperm and eggs into the open water at the apex of the arc.

Habitat/range: They are found in the Indo-Pacific region where they inhabit areas of mixed coral, rock or sand at the base of reefs or ledges, lagoons and seaward reefs.

Status: Chocolate surgeonfish are not listed on the IUCN Red List.