Acanthurus xanthopterus (Valenciennes, 1835)
Acanthurus xanthopterus (Valenciennes, 1835)

Genus: ,

Scientific Name: Acanthurus xanthopterus (Valenciennes, 1835)

English Name: Yellowfin surgeonfish

Creole Name: Siriziyen Lezel Zonn

French Name: Chirurgien aile jaune

IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)


Dorsal spines: 8-9; Dorsal rays: 25-27; Anal spines: 3; Anal rays: 23-25.

Purplish-grey body often with alternating, irregular, lengthwise stripes of dark yellowish grey and light blue-grey. Dull yellow band in front of eye with narrower extension running behind eye (sometimes continuing faintly posterior of operculum to pectoral fin base). Pectoral fin yellow contrasting against grey body. Dorsal and anal fins dull yellow with pale blue band at base and dark longitudinal bands. Base of lunate caudal fin whitish with fin itself purplish. Small caudal spine with light blue socket. 


Maturity: Lm unknown. Range unknown. Max Length: 70cm TL largest species in the genus. Common length 50cm TL. 

Habitat and Ecology:

Lives in various reef habitats, sandy substrates and lagoons depth range 1-90m and usually in depths greater than 10m. Juveniles recruit to shallow, protected, turbid inshore waters, while adults are found in deeper areas of protected bays, lagoons and outer reefs. This species feeds on sediment, algae and detritus. May occur as individually or in schools. 

Fishery Status:

This species is not protected or subject to fishery regulations. It is caught in the fish trap fishery. May also be taken by hook on occasion.


Venomous spine. Large catches were recorded off Mahe on September 12th 2018 (week of the new moon) suggesting aggregation behaviour.


Abesamis, R. et al 2012. Acanthurus xanthopterus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T177989A1512937. (15/10/18).

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Eds. 2018. FishBase.,  (15/10/18)

Randall, J.E. (2001). Surgeonfishes of Hawaii and the World. ISBN: 1-56647-561-9

Nevill, J. (2013). A Species Identification Guide for Commonly Caught Fish in the Seychelles Near-Shore Artisanal Fishery. GOS/UNDP/GEF.


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