HORNY UNICORNY

Sport Fishing - - FISH FACTS -

I be­lieve this is a spot­ted unicornfish. Do I have the ID right? And what is the pur­pose of the “horn”? Steve Woz­niak Alamo, Cal­i­for­nia

That pointy-nosed fish is in­deed a spot­ted unicornfish, Naso bre­vi­rostris. Uni­corn­fishes — a type of sur­geon­fish — are so named for the prom­i­nent ros­tral horn that projects from the fore­head area, though not all uni­corn­fishes have the ros­tral horn. Most sur­geon­fishes feed on ben­thic al­gae, but adult spot­ted unicornfish feed mainly on zoo­plank­ton, so they might in­ter­act with sport-fish­ing gear. The unicornfish grows to around 2 feet long and is rel­a­tively com­mon through­out the coral reefs of the trop­i­cal Indo-Pa­cific from the Red Sea to Hawaii at depths of up to 300 feet. The size of the spot­ted uni­corn’s ros­tral horn in­creases once a fish ma­tures into an adult but, in­ter­est­ingly, its func­tion re­mains unknown. Be­sides just look­ing weird, one could imag­ine it might make preda­tors think twice about try­ing to con­sume one of these fish. —Ben Dig­gles

Spot­ted XQLFRUQƓVK

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