Arabian surgeonfish

(Acanthurus sohal)


Arabian surgeonfish IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The Sohal surgeonfish reaches a total length of 38-40 cm, occasionally more. It is characterized by striking blue and white horizontal stripes and jet black fins with bright blue borders, and some orange markings behind their pectoral fins and at the base of their tail. There are no marked differences in colour or morphology between the sexes.

It is a common species found in seaward edges of reefs exposed to surge.

Sohal surgeonfish are aggressive towards other surgeonfish, and territorial. They probably spawn as other surgeons, congregating in pairs tied to lunar cycles, releasing floating gametes.

They feed on various kinds of algae, mainly Sargassum, and fine filamentous green algae, and they also readily take animal protein.

Did you know?
that soft and leather corals cannot be kept in the same aquarium with Sohal surgeonfish, as they will be destroyed and eaten by the fish? On the other hand, stony corals are not harmed by these fish.


Name (Scientific) Acanthurus sohal
Name (English) Arabian surgeonfish
Name (French) Chirurgien zébré
Name (German) Rotmeer-Doktorfisch
Name (Spanish) Pez cirujano cebra
Local names Arab: Fardh, Faridh
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Stan Shebs



Range Western Indian Ocean: Red Sea to the Persian Gulf.
Habitat Coral reefs
Wild population Unkown
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

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

Why do zoos keep this animal

Arabian 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.