Naso elegans 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Acanthuridae

Scientific Name: Naso elegans (Rüppell, 1829)
Common Name(s):
English Elegant Unicornfish, Indian orange-spine Unicorn, Lipstick Surgeonfish, Orangespine Unicornfish, Smoothheaded Unicornfish
French Nasique à Eperons Oranges, Nason Bariolé
Aspisurus elegans Rüppell, 1829
Taxonomic Notes:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2010-05-06
Assessor(s): Choat, J.H., McIlwain, J., Abesamis, R., Clements, K.D., Myers, R., Nanola, C., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B. & Stockwell, B.
Reviewer(s): Edgar, G. & Kulbicki, M.
Naso elegans is widespread in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean as far east as Bali including all intervening island groups. It achieves high abundances in Cocos and the central Red Sea and is moderately common in Madagascar. It is relatively rare elsewhere in its range. It is not specifically targeted in any fishery except in western Thailand. There is no evidence of declines from harvesting. It occurs in numerous marine protected areas in parts of its distribution. It is therefore listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Naso elegans is found from the Red Sea south to Durban, eastwards to Bali, Indonesia. It occurs in southern Oman but not the Gulf of Oman or Persian Gulf, and not reported from India.
Countries occurrence:
Bangladesh; British Indian Ocean Territory; Christmas Island; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Comoros; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; French Southern Territories (Mozambique Channel Is.); India (Andaman Is., Nicobar Is.); Indonesia; Israel; Jordan; Kenya; Madagascar; Malaysia; Maldives; Mauritius; Mayotte; Mozambique; Myanmar; Oman; Réunion; Saudi Arabia; Seychelles; Singapore; Somalia; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – western; Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):30
Upper depth limit (metres):1
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Naso elegans is moderately common in northwest Madagascar (Allen 2005). In Duba, Saudi Arabia, density was recorded at 7.5 ind/1,000 m2. It is reasonably abundant in the Red Sea and appears in the Jedda markets. It is relatively rare elsewhere in the Indian Ocean; moving further east in Christmas Island, abundance drops to 2 ind/1,000 m2 (J. McIlwain pers. comm. 2010). In Cocos, it is the most abundant reef dwelling Naso with a mean abundance of 8 ind./1,000 m2. It is less abundant in the Seychelles (J.H. Choat pers. comm. 2010).

In the Nabq Managed Resource Protected Area, South Sinai, Egyptian Red Sea, mean abundances of this species showed differences at various depths and between no-take zones (NTZ) and take zones (TZ). The greater abundance of the Acanthuridae in the fished area than in the NTZ across 1, 3 and 10 m depths, can be attributed to a result of reduced predation or competition (Ashworth and Ormond 2005).

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Naso elegans is classified as a browser on macroscopic algae (J.H. Choat pers. obs. in Green and Bellwood 2009). It achieves a maximum size of 360 mm (TL) in four years. The maximum age recorded is 17 years. It is much faster growing than N. lituratus in many locations it was found (J.H. Choat pers comm. 2010).

The sexes are separate and there is evidence of sexual dimorphism in the caudal knives which are relatively larger and longer filaments in males (J.H. Choat pers. comm. 2010).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The "blonde Naso tang" Naso elegans, is a component of the marine aquarium trade. It sells online for $59.99 to $149.99 depending on size ( accessed 20 April 2010). It is a targeted food fish in western Thailand (Allen 2005). It is caught incidentally in other parts of its range.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats known for this species.

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).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures in place for this species. However, its distribution overlaps several marine protected areas within its range.

Citation: Choat, J.H., McIlwain, J., Abesamis, R., Clements, K.D., Myers, R., Nanola, C., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B. & Stockwell, B. 2012. Naso elegans. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T178004A1518077. . Downloaded on 18 August 2018.
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