Behavior

All members of this suborder except one may be found singly, in small groups, or in aggregations, schools, or mixed-species schools. The exception is the louvar, a solitary fish that probably aggregates only to breed. Many of these fishes, including some rabbitfishes and surgeonfishes, are territorial. Others, such as some rabbitfishes, patrol home ranges in pairs. Numerous species of rabbitfishes also have post-larvae that often form large schools when they settle onto reefs as post-larvae and recruit into (join) the population as juveniles. Batfishes tend to hover singly or in small groups near structures but can form large schools in deeper water as well. Their juveniles mimic fallen leaves. Scats also move about

A school of blue tangs (Acanthurus coeruleus) eating the eggs of a sergeant major near the Saba Island of the Netherland Antilles. (Photo by Andrew J. Martinez/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

open sea. Moorish idols spawn in pairs or in pairs within aggregations. Surgeonfishes spawn in pairs, as pairs within aggregations, and in groups. The larvae of many of these fishes are well adapted to a prolonged existence in the open sea.

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