Surgeonfish & Unicornfish

Surgeonfish & Unicornfish




Catch fish using nets, spear, hook and line, or traps. Be mindful of ciguatera toxin and check the news for a possible outbreak in the area.


Keep fish chilled in a cooler or refrigerator. Can be frozen for longer storage.


  • Wash fish well before use.
  • Remove the guts with a knife.

Photo Source

J. Hollyer
Fishes of Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park


Surgeonfishes and unicornfishes belong to the Acanturidae family, which have a compressed body, small mouth, and tough skin with tiny scales that are rough in texture (Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources, Guam Department of Agriculture; Myers, 1999).


1.  Bluebanded surgeonfish (Acanthurus lineatus)
Is a colorful fish with a venomous tail. Can be found in the surge zone of exposed seaward reefs.


2.  Bluespine unicornfish (Naso unicornis)
Can be found in channels, moats, and seaward reefs in areas of strong surge and shallow water.


3.  Convict surgeonfish (Acanthurus triostegus)
Also known as convict tang, it has dark vertical lines that run down its body. Can be found in hard bottom areas of lagoon and seaward reefs.


4.  Orangspine unicornfish (Naso lituratus)
Does not have a horn but has an orange bottom spine. Can be found in areas of coal, rock, or rubble of lagoon and seaward reefs.


5.  Yellowfin surgeonfish (Acanthurus xantopterus)
Has distinguishable yellow fins. Can be found in lagoon and seaward reefs.

Traditional Names
  • Chamorro – hiyok 1; guåsa 2; tåtaga 2; kichu 3; hangon 4; hugupao dångkolo 5
  • Chuukese – puna 4
  • Hawaiian – kala 2; manini 3; umaumalei 4; pualu 5
  • Kosraean – kui 1; ik koac 2,4; lasrfol 3; kuhpaht 5
  • Marshallese – kuban 3; kopat 5
  • Palauan – belai 1; chum 2; chelas 3; cherangle 4; mesekuuk 5
  • Pohnpeian –pwulak; wakapw 1; pwulangkin 2; pulangkin 4
  • Samoan – pone; palagi; alogo 1; ume-isu 2; manini 3; iliʻilia 4; umelei 4
  • Yapese – felange 1; giume 2; limeoniu 3; bwulegalei 4; yefale 5