This is a relatively large member of the Acanthuridae, easily reaching 60 centimeters. The adult has tall dorsal and anal fins, vertical blue lines on its sides, and small blue spots dorsally and ventrally. A broad blue band extends from the eyes to the prominent snout. The coloration of the juvenile is a dingy green with blue spots and lips, later turning deeper blue with purple markings.
Dorsal spines (total): 6; Dorsal soft rays (total): 26-27; Anal spines: 3; Anal soft rays: 27 - 29. Adults develop a convexly rounded prominent snout and unusually tall dorsal and anal fins. Side of body with vertical blue lines which break up into small blue spots dorsally and ventrally. A broad blue band extending from eye to front of rostral protuberance.
Bignose unicornfish's facts
Did you know?
Bignose unicornfish turns mud-brown while sleeping or when frightened, a form of camouflage.
Naso vlamingii is a very common inhabitant of Maldivian reefs.
Bignose unicornfish habitat
Naso vlamingii occurs in deep lagoons and seaward coral reefs. This species is often found forming loose schools along upper regions of deep drop-offs to depths of 50 m. It forms mid-water aggregations off steep coral slopes to feed upon zooplankton during the day.
There are no major threats known to this species, however it is harvested by subsistence fisheries and for the aquarium trade. It is associated with coral reefs, a habitat that can be locally degraded by water pollution, human pollution pressures, overfishing, tourism, Crown of Thorns outbreaks and coral bleaching.
Surgeonfishes show varying degrees of habitat preference and utilization of coral reef habitats, with some species spending the majority of their life stages on coral reef while others primarily utilize seagrass beds, mangroves, algal beds, and /or rocky reefs. The majority of surgeonfishes are exclusively found on coral reef habitat, and of these, approximately 80% are experiencing a greater than 30% loss of coral reef area and degradation of coral reef habitat quality across their distributions. However, more research is needed to understand the long-term effects of coral reef habitat loss and degradation on these species populations. Widespread coral reef loss and declining habitat conditions are particularly worrying for species that recruit into areas with live coral cover especially as studies have shown that protection of pristine habitats facilitate the persistence of adult populations in species that have spatially separated adult and juvenile habitats (Comeros-Raynal et al. 2012).