Some may think unicorns are purely mythical, but they’d be wrong! Unicorns swim at the New England Aquarium every day.

Since April 9 is #NationalUnicornDay, we wanted to give you the chance to meet some of the Aquarium’s uni-horned residents.

Unicornfish are members of the Naso genus and part of the same family as other surgeonfish. They are known for (you may have guessed it) a hornlike extension of the forehead in some of the species. The different species of unicornfish are located across the Indo-Pacific from Africa to Hawaii! 

  1. blue spine unicorn tang

    Bluespine Unicorn Tang

    With a browridge like that, the Bluespine Unicorn Tang (Naso unicornis) certainly lives up to its name! Visit this living legend in the Indo-Pacific Coral Reef Exhibit.

  2. bignose unicornfish

    Bignose Unicornfish

    With less of a "horn" and more of a "bulb," the Bignose Unicorn Fish (Naso vlaningii) is still a member of the Aquarium's unicorn menagerie!

  3. Orangespine Unicornfish

    The orangespine unicornfish (Naso lituratus) is sometimes known as a "clown surgeonfish" or "lipstick tang" because of its bright coloring.

Indo-Pacific Coral Reef Exhibit
Unicorns swim every day in our new Indo-Pacific Coral Reef Exhibit!

Conservation Context

Although most members of the Naso genus are listed as species of “least concern” by the IUCN, they mostly live in coral reef environments. Corals are nurseries to thousands of fish species, many of which could not survive without these unique habitats. Unfortunately, coral reefs are rapidly disappearing worldwide, primarily due to climate change and other human impacts. The loss of coral reefs to bleaching has dire consequences for marine animals and humans alike. Coral reefs have the best chance to adapt if humans slow climate change and reduce other human-caused stresses.