Acanthurus triostegus   (Linnaeus,  1758) (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Actinopterygii

Image copyrights: Randall, J.E.

Size: 21-27 cm.

Color: 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.

Height 1.8-1.9, 2.3 in length with caudal. Head 3.1-3.3, 3.7-3.9 in length with caudal. Profile of head somewhat convex before eyes, concave on snout, more so in older specimens that in young. Eye 3.7-3.9, 2.2-2.5 in snout, and 1.1-1.2 in convex inter orbital space. Teeth deeply lobate, 6-8 in each ramus of both upper and lower jaw. Nostrils rather close together, just before eye, both with a low rim, which is posteriorly produced in to a triangular flap in that of the anterior nostril. Origin of dorsal above gill opening. First dorsal spine about half diameter of eye, and one third of second. Following spines gradually increasing in length to the sixth to ninth spines, which are sub equal, and equal to distance between hind border of maxillary and eye. Soft dorsal as high as spinous part, rounded behind. First anal spine slightly shorter than first dorsal one, second spine three fourths of third, which equals longest dorsal spines. Soft anal less deep than dorsal, rounded behind. Pectorals triangular, as long as snout and eye. Ventrals as long as snout, or half diameter of eye shorter. Caudal truncate. 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. Dorsal spines (total): 9 - 9; Dorsal soft rays (total): 22 - 26; Anal spines: 3; Anal soft rays: 19 - 22.

Dioecism, external fertilization, nonguarders, open water/substratum egg scatterers. Form spawning aggregations. During spawning, clouds of eggs and sperm are preyed upon by eagle rays which are often present during spawning. Size of metamorphosis from post-larva stage to juvenile is 3.2 cm.

Remarks: Values in above description denote proportions.

Synonym (s)
Acanthurus hirudo Bennett, 1829
(Junior synonym)
Acanthurus pentazona Bleeker, 1850
(Junior synonym)
Acanthurus subarmatus Bennett, 1840
(Junior synonym)
Acanthurus triostegus Linnaeus, 1758
(New combination)
Acanthurus triostegus marquesens Schultz & Woods, 1948
(Junior synonym)
Acanthurus triostegus sandvicensi Streets, 1877
(Junior synonym)
Acanthurus triostegus triostegus Linnaeus, 1758
Acanthurus triostegus triostegus Linnaeus, 1758
(New combination)
Acanthurus zebra Lacepede, 1802
(Junior synonym)
Chaetodon couaga Lacepede, 1802
(Junior synonym)
Chaetodon triostegus Linnaeus, 1758
(Original combination)
Harpurus fasciatus Forster, 1801
(Junior synonym)
Hepatus sandvicensis Streets, 1877
(Junior synonym)
Hepatus triostegus Linnaeus, 1758
(New combination)
Rhombotides pentazona Bleeker, 1850
(Junior synonym)
Rhombotides triostegus Linnaeus, 1758
(New combination)
Teuthis australis Gray, 1827
(Junior synonym)
Teuthis elegans Garman, 1899
(Junior synonym)
Teuthis sandvicensis Streets, 1877
(Junior synonym)
Teuthis triostegus Linnaeus, 1758
(New combination)
Teuthis troughtoni Whitley, 1928
(Junior synonym)
Acanthurus triostegus Bloch and Schneider, 1801
Acanthurus triostegus Cuvier and Valenciennies, 1835
Harpurus fasciatus Lichtenstein, 1844
Acanthurus pentazona Bleeker, 1851
Acanthurus triostegus Montrouzier, 1856
Acanthurus triostegus Gunther, 1861
Rhombotides triostegus Bleeker, 1863
Acanthurus triostegus Hutton, 1872
Acanthurus triostegus Gunther, 1875
Acanthurus triostegus Day, 1876
Acanthurus triostegus Macleay, 1881
Acanthurus zebra de Vis, 1884
Acanthurus triostegus Hilgendorf, 1883
Acanthurus triostegus Waite, 1894
Teuthis triostegus Seale, 1901
Teuthis triostegus Jordan and Evermann, 1902
Hepatus triostegus Steindachner, 1906
Hepatus triostegus Jordan and Seale, 1906
Teuthis triostegus Kendall and Goldsborough, 1911
Teuthis triostegus Kendall and Radcliffe, 1912
Acanthurus triostegus M. Weber, 1913
Hepatus triostegus Ogilby, 1916
Teuthis triostegus McCulloch, 1922
Teuthis triostegus Barnard, 1927
Acanthurus triostegus Herre, 1927
Hepatus triostegus Fowler, 1928
Hepatus triostegus Fowler and Bean, 1929
Hepatus triostegus Fowler, 1931
Acanthurus triostegus Herre, 1936
Hepatus triostegus Fowler, 1938
Teuthis troughtoni Whitley and Colefax, 1938
Teuthis triostegus Marshall, 1941
Acanthurus triostegus L. P. Schultz, 1943
Acanthurus triostegus triostegus L. P. Schultz, 1948
Acanthurus triastegus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Acanthurus triostegust (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common Name (s)
• Kozhimeen (Tamil)
• Rabolu (Mahl)
• Kurichil (Malayalam)
• Nelalan (Malayalam)
• Varipara (Malayalam)
• Kozhimeen (Tamil)
• Mootah (Telugu)
• Convict surgeonfish (English)
• Convict surgeon (English)
• Surgeonfish
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial, Dangers
(Fisheries, aquarium; Ornamental fish
Causes ciguatera poisoning)
Cultured:  Unknown

Habitat:  Reef Associated
Trophic Level:  Secondary Consumer
Prey:  Benthic crustaceans, hard corals, other benthic invertebrates, benthic algae/weeds, phytoplankton, cnidarians, detritus, molluscs
Predator:  Fishes (Cephalopholis argus, Conger cinereus, Fistularia petimba, Lutjanus fulvus, Epinephelus merra)


• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andaman Islands (Lat: 12.5) (Long: 92.75) INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andaman Islands (Lat: 10) (Long: 93) INDIA
• Lakshadweep (Lat: 11) (Long: 72.5) INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai Coast INDIA
• INDIA (Record: 01/1991-06/1992)
• Lakshadweep, Kavaratti Atoll (Lat: 10.55) (Long: 72.63) INDIA (Record: 01/1991-06/1992)
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andaman Islands INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Great Nicobar Island INDIA (Record: 08/2000-07/2003)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, North Reef Island INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Agatti Island (Lat: 10.85) (Long: 78.46) INDIA (Record: 03/1954)
• Lakshadweep, Amini Island (Lat: 11.08) (Long: 72.75) INDIA (Record: 03/1954)
• Lakshadweep INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Chettalatt INDIA (Record: 05/01/1987-06/02/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Kilttan INDIA (Record: 05/01/1987-06/02/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Kadamatt INDIA (Record: 05/01/1987-06/02/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Amini INDIA (Record: 05/01/1987-06/02/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Bitra INDIA (Record: 09/02/1987-25/02/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Tinnakara INDIA (Record: 09/02/1987-25/02/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Bangaram INDIA (Record: 09/02/1987-25/02/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Agatti INDIA (Record: 09/02/1987-25/02/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Andrott INDIA (Record: 06/03/1987-01/04/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Kavaratti INDIA (Record: 06/03/1987-01/04/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Suheli INDIA (Record: 06/03/1987-01/04/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Kalpeni INDIA (Record: 06/03/1987-01/04/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Minicoy INDIA (Record: 06/03/1987-01/04/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Chettalatt INDIA (Record: 11/1993-01/1997)
• Lakshadweep, Kilttan INDIA (Record: 11/1993-01/1997)
• Lakshadweep, Minicoy INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Agatti INDIA (Record: 11/1993-01/1997)
• Lakshadweep, Amini INDIA (Record: 11/1993-01/1997)
• Lakshadweep, Minicoy Island (Lat: 8.11) (Long: 73.3) INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands INDIA
• West Bengal (Lat: 21.45) (Long: 87.9) INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Rao, DV; Devi, K and Rajan, PT (2000) An account of ichthyofauna of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Bay of Bengal Occasional paper no 178 Records of the Zoological Survey of India ZSI, Calcutta 1-434 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Devi, K and Rao, DV (2003) Poisonous and venomous fishes of Andaman Islands, Bay of Bengal Occasional paper no 211 Records of The Zoolgical Survey of India ZSI, Calcutta 25934 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre Available at -
  • Devi, K and Rao, DV (2003) A field guide to the fishes of Acanthuridae (surgeonfishes) and Siganidae (rabbitfishes) of Andaman and Nicobar Islands 42 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Ocean Biogeographic Information System Available at -
  • James, C; O'Farrell, S; Hamylton, S; Ingwersen, C and Walker, R The coral reef resources of Mu Ko Surin national park, Thailand Coral Cay Conservation Available at -
  • Ohman, M; Rajasuriya, A and Olafsson, E (1997) Reef fish assemblages in north western Sri Lanka: Distribution patterns and influences of fishing practises Enviornmental Biology of Fishes Kluwer Academic Publishers 49 45-61
  • Rajan, PT (2003) A field guide to marine food fishes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands ZSI, 234/4, AJC Bose Road, 2nd MSO Building, (13th Floor), Nizam Palace, Kolkata-700 020 260 pp Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Heemstra, E; Heemstra, P; Smale, M; Hoopers, T and Pelicier, D (2004) Preliminary checklist of coastal fishes from the Mauritian island of Rodrigues Journal of natural history Taylor and Francis 38(23-24) 3315 - 3350 Available at - index/
  • Letourneur, Y; Chabanet, P; Durville, P; Taquet, M; Teissier, E; Parmentier, M; Quero, JC and Pothin, K (2004) An updated checklist of the marine fish fauna of Reunion Island, south-western Indian Ocean Cybium 28(3) 199-216
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp Available at -
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Vijay Anand, PE and Pillai, NGK (2002) Reproductive biology of some common coral reef fishes of the Indian EEZ Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin 44(1 & 2) 122-135 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Anand, PEV and Pillai, NGK (2005) Community organization of coral reef fishes in the rubble sub-habitat of Kavaratti Atoll, Lakshadweep, India Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin, India 47(1) 77-82 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Anand, PEV and Pillai, NGK (2003) Habitat distribution and species diversity of coral reef fishes in the reefslope of the Kavaratti atoll, Lakshadweep, India Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin 45(1) 88-98 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Marine Biological Station, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2003) Checklist of marine fauna of Tamil Nadu Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Available at -
  • Dr. Ramesh, R; Dr. Nammalwar, P and Dr. Gowri, VS (2008) Database on coastal information of Tamil Nadu Report Submitted to Environmental Information System (ENVIS) Centre, Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Institute for Ocean Management, Anna University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Available at -
  • Beaufort, LF and Chapman, WM (1951) The fishes of the Indo-Australian Archipelago A. J. Reprints agency, Karol Bagh, New Delhi 9 484 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Fischer, W and Bianchi, G (Eds.) (1984) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Western Indian Ocean; (Fishing area 51). FAO, Rome 1 Available at -
  • Rajaram, R; Srinivasan, M; Khan, SA and Kannan, L (2004) Ichthyofaunal diversity of great Nicobar Island, Bay of Bengal Journal of Indian fisheries association 31 13-26 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Rao, GC; Rao, DV and Devi, K (1994) A faunal exploration of the North Reef Island sanctuary, North Andaman Journal of the Andaman Science Association Andaman Science Association, Port Blair 10(1&2) 68-81 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Balan, V (1958) Notes on a visit to certain islands of the Laccadive Archipelago, with special reference to fisheries Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society Bombay Natural History Society 55 (2) 297-306 Available at -
  • Murty, VS (1996) Marine ornamental fishes of India Proceedings of the Seminar on Fisheries - A Multibillion Dollar Industry, Madras CMFRI 23-34 Available at -
  • Kumaran, M; Murty, VS and Lalmohan, RS (1989) Resources of ornamental fishes Marine living resources of the union territory of Lakshadweep: An indicative survey with suggestions for development Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI 43 46-64 Available at -
  • Murty, VS (2002) Marine ornamental fish resources of Lakshadweep CMFRI Special Publication CMFRI 72 1-134 Available at -
  • Murty, VS (1969) Catalogue of fishes (excluding from the Laccadives) in the reference collections of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 10 1-38 Available at -
  • Jones, S and Kumaran, M (1959) The fishing industry of Minicoy Island with special reference to the tuna fishery Indian Journal of Fisheries Indian Council of Agricultural Research 6 (1) 30-57 Available at -
  • Varghese, M; Manisseri, MK; Ramamurthy, N; Geetha, PM; Thomas, VJ and Gandhi, A (2011) Coral reef fishes of Gulf of Mannar, S.E of India Fishing Chimes CMFRI 31(1) 38-40 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Ghosh, S; Ganeshamurthy, R; Balamurugan, J and Kumar, TTA (2011) Reef fishing- An off season amusement at Lakshadweep Fishing chimes 31(1) 128-130 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Murty, VS (2001) Ornamental fish resources of Lakshadweep Bulletins of the Geological Survey of India 56 103-111 Available at -
  • Talwar, PK (1990) Fishes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands: A synoptic survey Journal of the Andaman Science Association Andaman Science Association, Port Blair 6(2) 71-102 Available at - NIO,Goa
  • Pillai, PKM and Augustine, SK (2000) A code list of common marine living resources of the Indian seas CMFRI Special Publication No.12 CMFRI 1-115 Available at -
  • Biswas, KP (2009) Fishes around Indian Ocean Reef Fishes Daya publishing house Available at - NIO,Goa
  • Das, P; De, SP; Bhowmik, RM; Pandit, IK; Sengupta, R; Nandi, AC; Thakurta, SC and Saha, S (2007) Piscine diversity of West Bengal Fishing chimes 27(5) 15-28 Available at - NIO, Goa

Page last updated on:2012-01-06

Back to Search