Horseshoe Surgeonfish, Acanthurus fowleri De Beaufort 1951

Other Names: Fowler's Surgeonfish, Horse-shoe Surgeon, Horse-shoe Surgeonfish

A Horseshoe Surgeonfish, Acanthurus fowleri, at the Raja Ampat islands, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2016. Source: Mark Rosenstein / iNaturalist. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A surgeonfish with a large semicircular to subtriangular dark blue to black line above pectoral fin, a purplish head, a white band around caudal-fin base and pale yellowish caudal fin lobes.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Acanthurus fowleri in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jul 2024,

Horseshoe Surgeonfish, Acanthurus fowleri De Beaufort 1951

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Known from Scott Reef, north Western Australia, and Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical West Pacific - Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia to the Solomon Islands. Inhabits deep outer reef slopes, usually in depths below 20 m.


A grazer/detritivore.


Infrequently traded in the aquarium industry.

Species Citation

Acanthurus fowleri de Beaufort 1951, fish. Indo-Aust. Archipel. 9: 149. Type locality: Maitara Island, Philippines; Gomomo Island, Philippines; Buka Buka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia.


Dianne J. Bray

Horseshoe Surgeonfish, Acanthurus fowleri De Beaufort 1951


Abesamis, R., Choat, J.H., Clements, K.D., McIlwain, J., Myers, R., Nanola, C., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B. & Stockwell, B. 2012. Acanthurus fowleri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T177959A1503075. Downloaded on 27 May 2016.

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Comeros-Raynal, M.T., Choat, J.H., Polidoro, B.A., Clements, K.D., Abesamis, R., Craig, M.T., Lazuardi, M.E., McIlwain, J., Muljadi, A., Myers, R.F., NaƱola Jr., C.L., Pardede, S., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B., Sanciangco, J.C., Stockwell, B., Harwell, H. & Carpenter, K.E. 2012. The likelihood of extinction of iconic and dominant components of coral reefs: the parrotfishes and surgeonfishes. PLoS ONE

de Beaufort, L.F. in de Beaufort, L.F. & Chapman, W.M. 1951. The fishes of the Indo-Australian Archipelago. Percomorphi (concluded), Blennoidea. Leiden : Brill Vol. 9 484 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. & Debelius, H. 2001. Surgeonfishes, Rabbitfishes and Their Relatives. A comprehensive guide to Acanthuroidei. Chorleywood, U.K. : TMC Publishing 208 pp.

Randall, J.E. 2001. Zanclidae, Acanthuridae. pp. 3651-3683 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds) The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218.

Randall, J.E. 2001. Surgeonfishes of Hawai'i and the World. Honolulu : Mutual Publishing and Bishop Museum Press 125 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37437044

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:2-50 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:45 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map