Species Index

Acanthurus xanthopterus
(Valenciennes, 1835)

Common Name: Yellowmask Surgeonfish

Distribution: Uncommon to rare in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Indo-Pacific distribution, from east coast of Africa to the Hawaiian Islands, north to southern Japan, south to the Great Barrier Reef and New Caledonia. In Australia recorded from the north western coast of Western Australia, the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland south to northern New South Wales.

Ecological Notes: Frequents reef habitats, lagoons and sand slopes. Adults prefer deeper protected offshore areas, juveniles often inshore in turbid conditions. Depth range from 5 – 90 m.

Additional Notes: Recognised by the yellow mask in front of and including the eye. More humped head profile in mature specimens, and black spine on the caudal peduncle distinguishes it from similar Acanthurus dussumieriFeeds on a variety of filamentous algae, diatoms and pieces of fish, possibly the only Surgeonfish to take a fish bait. Schooling species that grows to 70 cm, usually around 50 cm.

References: FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. Accessed 15/04/18.

Atlas of Living Australia website at…. Accessed 15/04/18.

R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p.429.