Powderblue surgeonfish

(Acanthurus leucosternon)


Powderblue surgeonfish IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

Like all surgeonfishes, the powderblue has a laterally compressed body covered with very small scales giving its skin a leathery appearance. It has long continuous dorsal fins, and a small terminal mouth with fine teeth. It reaches a length of up to 54 cm.

The colour of the body is blue with a white chest. The head is black with a broad white band from the pectoral-fin base to the throat. There is no distinct white spot or broad white band below eye. The dorsal fin is yellow with a white margin and a black submarginal line. Anal and pelvic fins are white

The powderblue inhabits shallow, clear coastal and island coral reefs. It is usually found on reef flats and along upper seaward slopes. It may occur singly or in large feeding aggregations feeding on benthic algae; on small, sparsely scattered algae and small growths in crevices. It is monogamous.

Did you know?
that the whole family of surgeonfishes is distinguished from other coral fishes by the presence of one or more spines on the caudal peduncle (the part of the body right before the tail fin)? Hence their scientific name from the Greek, akanthos = 'thorn'. With a twist of the tail these spines are used to as a formidable weapon when needed.


Name (Scientific) Acanthurus leucosternon
Name (English) Powderblue surgeonfish
Name (French) Chirurgien à poitrine blanche
Name (German) Weisskehl-Doktorfisch
Name (Spanish) Pez cirujano de sombra azul
Local names Afrikaans: Poeierblou-doktervis
Bahasa Indinesia: Botana biru
Portuguese: Cirurgi√£o poeirento
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
BS Thurner Hof



Range Indian Ocean from the coast of East Africa to western the Pacific
Habitat Coral reefs, from the surface to 25 m depth.
Wild population Unknown
Zoo population Considering that most publc aquaria are not part of the WAZA system and do not register their collections with ISIS, available ISIS data are not significant.

In the Zoo

Powderblue surgeonfish


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 51 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.

Fish must be unpacked carefully and under low illumination.


Find this animal on ZooLex


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Why do zoos keep this animal

Powderblue surgeonfish are not an endangered species but their habitats, coral reefs, are threatened in many places. They are thus presented by zoos and aquariums as an ambassador species for reef protection.