Paracanthurus hepatus   (Linnaeus,  1766) (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Actinopterygii

Image copyrights: Diogo Lopes

Size: 26-31 cm.

Color: In preserved specimens blue or bluish green. A dark brown from eye, running upwards to dorsal and the along back to caudal peduncle, where it is much broadened. A forward branch along median line of body curves upwards above pectoral and joins here the dorsal bands in adults, enclosing a large elliptical patch the color of the body. In young ones this branch does not reach quite as far. Caudal peduncle and caudal lobes dark, a triangle, the top of which is near the point of the spine on the caudal peduncle, and the base of which is formed by the truncate hind border of the caudal, yellow. Dorsal and anal blue, the spines and rays, and the edges of the fins brown. Pectorals brown, their distal part light. Ventrals blue or brownish, the tips of the fin darker.

Height 2.2-2.5, 2.7-3 in length with caudal. Head 3.6-4, 4.5-4.8 in length with caudal. Eye 4.7-5.1, 3.2-3.7 in snout, and 1.4-1.5 in very convex inter orbital space. First dorsal spine very small, second spine slightly shorter than third, which is half as long as snout and eye. Following spines sub equal, the last one shorter. First dorsal ray as long as the longest spine, following rays decreasing in length. First anal spine very small, second about two thirds of third spine, which equals longest dorsal spine in length. Soft anal similar to soft dorsal. Pectorals as long as the distance between the anterior end of their base and the end of the shout. Ventrals about three fourths of the snout. Caudal truncate when the fin is expanded, but the lobes produced and pointed. Dorsal spines (total): 9 - 9, Dorsal soft rays (total): 19 - 20, Anal spines: 3, Anal soft rays: 18-19. Bright blue, yellow and black in color.

External fertilization, dioecious and oviparous.

Venomous, anterolateral glandular groove is with venom gland.

Remarks: Values in above description denote proportions.

Synonym (s)
Teuthis hepatus Linnaeus, 1766
Acanthurus hepatus Bloch and Schneider, 1802
Acanthurus theuthis Lacepede, 1802
Acanthurus hepatus Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1835
acanthurus hepatus Bleeker, 1852
acanthurus hepatus Gunther, 1861
Paracanthurus hepatus Bleeker, 1863
Acanthurus hepatus Gunther, 1875
Acanthurus hepatus Day, 1876
Colocopus lambdurus Gill, 1885
Colocopus lambdurus Jordan and Seale, 1906
Acanthurus teuthis M. Weber, 1913
Paracanthurus lambdurus Herre, 1927
Paracanthurus theuthis Fowler, 1928
Paracanthurus theuthis Fowler and Bean, 1929
Acanthurus hepatus Day, 1878
Paracanthurus hepatus De Beaufort, 1951
Paracanthurus theuthis Smith, 1949
Acanthurus hepatus (Linnaeus, 1766)
Paracanthurus theuthis (Lacepede, 1802)

Common Name (s)
• Voulang (Mahl)
• Chankatayan (Malayalam)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Very popular and hardy aquarium fish; Ornamental fish)

Habitat:  Reef Associated
Trophic Level:  Secondary Consumer
Prey:  Zooplankton, invertebrates


• Lakshadweep, Amini INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Minicoy INDIA
• Lakshadweep INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Amini INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Minicoy INDIA
• Lakshadweep Islands INDIA (Record: 11/1993-01/1997)

Literature Source(s)
  • Wafar, MVM (2003) Checklists of reef fauna 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
  • 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
  • Randall, JE (1981) Palette surgeonfish, Paracanthurus hepatus Freshwater and Marine Aquarium 4(3) 46-59 Available at - ZOOR11800031751
  • Durville, P; Chabanet, P and Quod, JP (2003) Visual Census of the Reef Fishes in the Natural Reserve of the Glorieuses Islands (Western Indian Ocean) Western Indian Ocean J. Mar. Sci. WIOMSA 2 95-104
  • Chabanet, P and Patrick, D (2005) Reef Fish Inventory of Juan De Novas Natural Park (Western Indian Ocean) Western Indian Ocean Journal Marine Sciences 2005 WIOMSA 4 145-162
  • Allen, GR and Mohammed, A (2003) Coral Reef Fishes of Indonesia Zoological Studies 42(1) 26299 Available at - Digital Information Resource Center, Pune.
  • The age of aquariums Available at -
  • 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 -
  • 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
  • Jones, S and Kumaran, M (1980) Fishes of the Laccadive Archipelago The Nature Conservation and Aquatic Sciences Service, Trivandrum, Kerala 760 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Jones, S. (1969) Catalogue of fishes from the Laccadive Archipelago in the reference collections of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute. Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 8 1-35 Available at -
  • Murty, VS (2002) Marine ornamental fish resources of Lakshadweep CMFRI Special Publication CMFRI 72 1-134 Available at -

Page last updated on:2011-05-10

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