Spotted Unicornfish

(Naso maculatus)

  • Animal Type


  • Exhibits

    Blacktip Reef

  • Range

    Indian Ocean

    Pacific Ocean


Adult spotted unicornfish can be anywhere from bluish-gray to olive-brown in color. They often have small irregular stripes on the sides of their body. Juveniles, however, may have darker spots. The fish’s prominent horn is not found in juveniles and actually develops later in life.

They are typically found in small groups in reefs and along lagoon drop-offs but have also been spotted along rocky coasts. In addition, they may sometimes group into larger schools.

A Note from the Caretaker

If you look carefully at the National Aquarium’s spotted unicornfish, you will notice that several are entering their adult phase and developing horns. One of ours is probably already a full adult and has a truly impressive horn.

Quick Facts

Did you know that spotted unicornfish develop their distinct horns later in life?

Spotted unicornfish live in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, from along East Africa to Hawaii, and as far north as southern Japan.

Adult spotted unicornfish feed primarily on zooplankton but may also eat algae.

Spotted unicornfish grow to be about 60 centimeters long.

Spotted unicornfish are listed as “least common” on the IUCN red list.

Spotted unicornfish have sharp spines near their tails that keep most predators at bay, although there is some demand for them from home aquarists and within the exotic pet trade.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter Sign up to receive updates on animals, news and events.