Inshore Surgeonfish, Acanthurus grammoptilus Richardson 1843

Other Names: Finelined Surgeonfish, Inshore Surgeon, Northwest Surgeonfish, Ring-tailed Surgeonfish

An Inshore Surgeonfish, Acanthurus grammoptilus, at Dampier, Western Australia. Source: Graham Edgar / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution

A brown to dark brown surgeonfish with a white band around the tail base, a yellow streaks before and behind the eye, small yellow spots on the cheek, dorsal, a narrow white margin on the caudal fin, a fine blue margin and a series of blue lines on the outer part of the dorsal and anal fins, a yellow outer half of the pectoral fin, and a dark spine on the caudal peduncle.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Acanthurus grammoptilus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jun 2024,

Inshore Surgeonfish, Acanthurus grammoptilus Richardson 1843

More Info


Widespread in Australia, from Rottnest Island, Western Australia, to the Clarence River, New South Wales, including reefs in the Coral Sea; also Cartier Island in the Timor Sea and Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species occurs from Indonesia eastwards to New Caledonia and Fiji. 
Occurs in a range of habitats from silty inshore reefs to clear outer reefs.


Dorsal fin IX, 25-26; Anal fin III, 23-24; Pectoral fin 16-17; Gill rakers 16-18.
Body depth 1.9-2.5 in SL (juveniles and subadults deeper-bodied); caudal fin lunate.

Similar Species

Differs from the other Acanthurus species in having a yellow outer half on the pectoral fins, a narrow white margin on the tail, small yellow spots on the cheek, and no distinct yellow band or blotch near the eye.


The specific name grammoptilus is from the Greek grammi (= line, stripe), possibly in reference to the fine blue lines on the doral and anal fins: “five dark longitudinal streaks on the dorsal, and some lines more faintly traced on the border of the anal, both these fins being also very narrowly edged with black”.

Species Citation

Acanthurus grammoptilus Richardson 1843, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 1 11(69): 176. Type locality: Port Essington, Northern Territory.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Inshore Surgeonfish, Acanthurus grammoptilus Richardson 1843


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37437002

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:5-91 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish (minor)

Habitat:Reef associated, silty areas

Max Size:35 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map