(This post may contain affiliate links. For more info visit our Privacy page.)
The Doctorfish, like other “surgeon fish” in its family, has a sharp spine known as a “scalpel” sticking out of each side of the base of the tail! It is used during fights with other doctorfish, or defense against predators.
The Doctorfish has a single row of hard, sharp teeth designed for nipping off bits of algae from rocks and coral. It swallows the food whole and it is then ground up in a gizzard-like stomach full of sand!
In this photo there are both Doctorfish and Blue Tang. The Doctorfish have the dark grey stripes on the side and a dark black “scalpel” rimmed with bright blue. The Blue Tang are a lighter blue-gray with a yellow tail and a bright yellow “scalpel”. Photo taken in Brewer’s Bay, Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands.