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Acanthurus triostegus  (Linnaeus, 1758)

Convict surgeonfish
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Native range | All suitable habitat | Point map | Year 2100
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Acanthurus triostegus   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Acanthurus triostegus (Convict surgeonfish)
Acanthurus triostegus
Picture by Randall, J.E.

Australia country information

Common names: Convict surgeonfish
Occurrence: native
Salinity: marine
Abundance: | Ref:
Importance: | Ref:
Aquaculture: | Ref:
Regulations: | Ref:
Uses: no uses
Comments: Occurs in Western Australia south of Rottnest Island (Ref. 37792); also known from Lord Howe Island (Ref. 1602) and Shark Bay (Ref. 115274).. Also Ref. 1920.
National Checklist:
Country Information:
National Fisheries Authority:
Occurrences: Occurrences Point map
Main Ref: Randall, J.E., G.R. Allen and R.C. Steene, 1990
National Database:

Classification / Names

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes (Perch-likes) > Acanthuridae (Surgeonfishes, tangs, unicornfishes) > Acanthurinae
Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL

Common names from other countries

Main reference

Size / Weight / Age

Max length : 27.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3145); common length : 17.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9267)

Length at first maturity
Lm 8.8  range ? - ? cm


Marine; reef-associated; depth range 0 - 90 m (Ref. 9710), usually 0 - 90 m (Ref. 27115)

Climate / Range

Tropical; 26°N - 36°S, 25°E - 85°W (Ref. 57245)


Indo-Pacific: throughout the region except for the seas around the Arabian Peninsula. Eastern Pacific: lower Gulf of California to Panama, including the Revillagigedo, Cocos, Clipperton, and Galapagos islands.
Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Introductions

Short description

Dorsal spines (total): 9; Dorsal soft rays (total): 22-26; Anal spines: 3; Anal soft rays: 19 - 22. Body olivaceous gray, with 4 vertical stripes (1 stripe on head across the yellow eye; 1 on caudal peduncle); shading to white ventrally, often with a sharp line of demarcation. Sharp, forward-pointing, erectile spine on each side of caudal peduncle which folds down into a groove. Scales minute. Teeth with denticulations on sides and top. Gill rakers 18-22 in anterior row, 19-24 in posterior row.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Adults occur in lagoon and seaward reefs with hard substrate; young abundant in tide pools (Ref. 3145, 48637). Benthopelagic (Ref. 58302). Often feeding near freshwater run-offs where certain algae grow on rocks that are grazed (Ref. 48637). Occasionally form schools; feed on filamentous algae in large aggregations. During spawning, clouds of eggs and sperm are preyed upon by eagle rays which are often present during spawning. Form spawning aggregations (Ref. 27825). Size of metamorphosis from post-larva stage to juvenile is 3.2 cm (Ref. 9267). Utilized as a food fish (Ref. 7364). Minimum depth reported taken from Ref. 27115.

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 115185)

Threat to humans

  Reports of ciguatera poisoning (Ref. 4690)

Human uses

Fisheries: commercial; aquarium: commercial

More information

Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins Misc.
Swim. type
Gill area


Special reports

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Internet sources

BHL | Check for other websites | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | DiscoverLife | ECOTOX | FAO(Publication : search) | GenBank(genome, nucleotide) | GOBASE | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | IGFA World Record | iSpecies | National databases | Public aquariums | PubMed | Scirus | Sea Around Us | SeaLifeBase | Tree of Life | uBio | uBio RSS | Wikipedia(Go, Search) | World Records Freshwater Fishing | Zoological Record | Fishtrace

Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805)
PD50 = 0.5000 many relatives (e.g. carps) 0.5 - 2.0 few relatives (e.g. lungfishes)

Trophic Level (Ref. 69278)
2.8   ±0.35 se; Based on food items.

Resilience (Ref. 69278)
Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.35; tm=1-2)

Vulnerability (Ref. 59153)
Low vulnerability (16 of 100)
Price category (Ref. 80766)