Elegant unicornfish Naso elegans

  • Fringing Reef
  • Unicornfish
  • Tangs
  • Surgeonfish
  • Fauna
  • Lagoon coral patches


Naso elegans, of the order of Perciformes and family of Acanthuridae (Surgeonfishes, tangs, unicornfishes) is commonly known as the Elegant Unicornfish, Indian orange-spine Unicorn, Lipstick Surgeonfish, Orangespine Unicornfish and Smoothheaded Unicornfish. The overall body colour is grey with a dark Snout. There is a broad yellow bar above the eyes. The dorsal fin is yellow with a narrow blue margin and a black sub marginal band on it. The anal and pelvic fins are dark brown. caudal fin is yellowish with black upper and lower margins, and a black sub marginal band[1]. It has total of 6 dorsal spines, 26 to 30 dorsal soft rays, 2 anal spines and 27 to 30 anal soft rays[2].


[1] IUCN, ‘Naso Elegans’.

[2] ‘Naso Elegans Summary Page’.

Habitat and ecology

This species is present across the Indian Ocean. It is found in coastal and sheltered reef flats, swimming in small groups . The recorded depth range is between 1 to 30m. It is a herbivore feeding on macroalgae.


Conservation and management

According to the IUCN Red list, this species is categorised as being of ‘Least Concern. No conservation measures are in place for this species. It is present in many MPAs though[1].


[1] ‘Naso Elegans’.

Did you know?

This species can reach a maximum recorded length of 45cm.