Bluelined Surgeonfish, Acanthurus lineatus (Linnaeus 1758)

Other Names: Blue-lined Surgeonfish, Lined Surgeon, Lined Surgeonfish, Striped Surgeonfish, Striped Tang, Zebra Surgeonfish

A Bluelined Surgeonfish, Acanthurus lineatus, at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Andy Lewis / Lizard Island Field Guide, License: CC by Attribution

Head and body with alternating yellow and blue lines outlined in black, with a white ventral surface, yellowish dorsal and anal fins yellowish with a blue margin, yellow to orange pelvic fins with a black leading edge.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Acanthurus lineatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 18 Jul 2024,

Bluelined Surgeonfish, Acanthurus lineatus (Linnaeus 1758)

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Ningaloo Reef to the Dampier Archipelago and offshore reefs of north Western Australia, Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, and the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland and reefs in the Coral Sea, to Seal Rocks, New South Wales, with juveniles to Sydney, and even further south to Narooma; also Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species is widespread, common and locally abundant in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific.


Dorsal fin IX, 27-30; Anal fin 25-28; Gill rakers (first arch) 14-16. 
Body deep, compressed, depth 2.1-3 times in SL (juveniles relatively deeper bodied than adults); head profile strongly convex; mouth small; teeth spatulate, close-set, with denticulate edges; dorsal fin continuous, unnotched; caudal fin deeply lunate with concavity, outer lobes elongate in adults; a lancet-like spine on each side of caudal peduncle which folds into a deep horizontal groove, this spine long, 1.9-2.5 in HL, and venomous.


Upper body with alternating black-edged blue and yellow stripes, those on head mainly diagonal; lower sides pale lavender to bluish-white; dorsal fin finely striped pale blue and yellowish; anal fin grey with a yellow basal band and a pale blue margin; caudal fin blackish with a large, grey crescent, edged anteriorly with a bluish white band, and black posterior margin; pectoral fins mostly pale; pelvic fins yellowish-orange with a white lateral margin and a blackish submarginal line.


Herbivore - feeds on algal turfs. At Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean, adults defend permanent territories that contain microalgal turfs on which they feed (Robertson et al. 1979).


Forms spawning aggregations.


Fishes in much of its range, and targeted in  commercial, subsistence and artisinal fisheries, and for the aquarium industry.

Species Citation

Chaetodon lineatus Linnaeus 1758, Systema Naturae 1: 274. Type locality: Indies.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Bluelined Surgeonfish, Acanthurus lineatus (Linnaeus 1758)


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Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1988. Fishes of Christmas Island Indian Ocean. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 197 pp.

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp.

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Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundem classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentis, synonymis, locis. Editio decima, reformata. Holmiae : Laurentii Salvii Tomus I 824 pp. See ref at BHL

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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37437010

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-15 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:38 cm TL

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