Reticulate Unicornfish, Naso reticulatus Randall 2001

A Reticulate Unicornfish, Naso reticulatus, from coastal waters off Unawatuna, Sri Lanka, February 2015, ~ 85 cm. Source: Theo Modder / FishBase. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A pale brownish to olive green surgeonfish fading to whitish below, with a pair of sharply keeled bony plates on the middle of the caudal peduncle, small darker spots and reticulations on the back and sides, black gill membranes, and dark brown to blackish spots on the tail. The head has a slight hump before the eye, and lacks a "horn" on the forehead.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Naso reticulatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 15 Apr 2024,

Reticulate Unicornfish, Naso reticulatus Randall 2001

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Off the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia.. Elsewhere the species is rare and occurs in the Indo-west Pacific: India, Pakistan, China, Taiwan, Philippines, and Indonesia. Inhabits coral reefs, often near drop-offs.


Dorsal fin V, 29; Anal fin II, 27; Pectoral fin 17; Pelvic fin I, 3; Vertebrae 21.
Body depth 3.1-3.2 in SL.; head convex, slightly angular before eye; protuberance or horn on forehead absent; anterior interorbital space and adjacent internarial space strongly elevated with a rounded median ridge. Caudal peduncle slender Caudal peduncle slender, sub-cylindrical, with a pair of sharply keeled bony plates on mid-side. Dorsal fin not elevated, first dorsal spine longest; caudal fin emarginate. 


Body light brown to olive-brown above, whitish ventrally, the upper three-fifths of body with a mixture of small dark brown to black spots and irregular lines, head with a dark reticular pattern; pectoral fins pale grey, becoming darker posteriorly.


Occasionally taken as bycatch in trawl fisheries in Australia.


The specific name reticulatus is from Latin and refers to the reticulated colour pattern.

Species Citation

Naso reticulatus Randall, 2001, Zool. Stud. 40(2): 173-175. Type locality: Middle of Nanwan Bay directly east of fishing boat harbor at Houpihu, Taiwan, 15m. 


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Reticulate Unicornfish, Naso reticulatus Randall 2001


Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp. (p. 253, 363, lower fig. p. 252 from southern Sumatra)

Ho, H.-C., Shen, K.-N. & Chang, C.-W. 2011. A new species of the unicornfish genus Naso (Teleostei: Acanthuridae) from Taiwan, with comments on its phylogenetic relationship. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 59(2): 205-211. See ref online, open access

Klanten, S., van Herwerden, L., Choat, J.H. & Blair, D. 2004. Patterns of lineage diversification in the genus Naso (Acanthuridae). Molecular Phylogenetic Evolution 32: 221–235.

Mohapatra, A., Ray, D. & Yennawar, P. 2013. First record of Naso reticulatus (Perciformes: Acanthuridae) from Indian waters. Marine Biodiversity Records 6: e56; Abstract

Psomadakis, P.N., Osmany, H.B. & Moazzam, M. 2015.  Field identification guide to the living marine resources of Pakistan. FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome. i-x + 1-386, Pls. 1-42. See ref online

Randall, J.E. 2001. Naso reticulatus, a new unicornfish (Perciformes: Acanthuridae) from Taiwan and Indonesia, with a key to the species of Naso. Zoological Studies 40(2): 170-176. See ref online, open access

Randall, J.E. 2001. Surgeonfishes of Hawai'i and the World. Honolulu : Mutual Publishing and Bishop Museum Press 125 pp.

Russell, B., Choat, J.H., Abesamis, R., Clements, K.D., McIlwain, J., Myers, R., Nanola, C., Rocha, L.A. & Stockwell, B. 2012. Naso reticulatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T177954A1501681. Downloaded on 16 July 2019.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37437049

Conservation:IUCN Data Deficient

Depth:to 60 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:57 cm TL

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