Pencil Surgeonfish, Acanthurus dussumieri Valenciennes 1835

Other Names: Dussumieri Tang, Dussumier's Surgeonfish, Eyestripe Surgeonfish, Eyestriped surgeonfish, Hawaiian Surgeonfish, Ornate Surgeonfish, Pencilled Surgeon, Pencilled Surgeonfish, Whitespine Surgeon

A Pencil Surgeonfish, Acanthurus dussumieri, at North West Solitary Island, New South Wales. Source: Ian V. Shaw / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution

A bluish to pale brown surgeonfish with fine wavy lines along the side, an orange/yellow band around and between the eyes, broad wavy lines on the head, a blue tail with dark spots, a white to yellow band on the tail base, and a white caudal spine in a black groove on the caudal peduncle. The species has yellow dorsal and anal fins with blue basal and marginal bands.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Acanthurus dussumieri in Fishes of Australia, accessed 18 Jul 2024,

Pencil Surgeonfish, Acanthurus dussumieri Valenciennes 1835

More Info


Shark Bay to the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia, including offshore reefs of the north-west, and Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea, and the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland to Port Kembla, New South Wales, including reefs in the Coral Sea; also Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean, and the Lord Howe Province and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific.

Indivuals or small groups inhabits steep outer reefs and drop-offs.


Dorsal fin IX,25-27; Anal fin III,24-26  Gill rakers 22-26 in anterior row, 23-27 in posterior row. 
Large adult males (about 17 cm) develop a more convex snout profile. Each side of caudal peduncle with single, sharp, forward-pointing erectile spine. Caudal fin lunate in adults.




Similar Species


The species is named in honour of Jean-Jacques Dussumier, who collected the type specimen.

Species Citation

Acanthurus dussumieri Valenciennes 1835, in Cuvier & Valenciennes, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons Vol. 10: 201. Type locality: Mauritius.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Pencil Surgeonfish, Acanthurus dussumieri Valenciennes 1835


Choat, J.H., McIlwain, J., Abesamis, R., Clements, K.D., Myers, R., Nanola, C., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B. & Stockwell, B. 2012. Acanthurus dussumieri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T177981A1510126. Downloaded on 07 August 2016.  

Choat, J.H., Robbins, W.D. & Clements, K.D. 2004. The trophic status of herbivorous fishes on coral reefs. Marine Biology 145: 445-454.  

Francis, M.P. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, Southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170.  

Johnson, J.W. 1999. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 43(2):.709-762.  

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia.  Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. figs.  

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to sea fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. New Holland Publishers, Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia. I-xvii + 1-434.  

Kuiter, R.H. & Debelius, H. 2001. Surgeonfishes, rabbitfishes and their relatives. A comprehensive guide to Acanthuroidei. TMC Publishing, Chorleywood, UK: 1-208.  

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. Mutual Publishing and Bishop Museum Press, Hawai'i. 123 pp.  

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.  

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37437008

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-130 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:54 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map