Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Acanthurus sohal, Red Sea Surgeonfish, Sohal Surgeonfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

grey; upper head & body + thin black stripes
D,A & C black + blue edges
behind pectoral: yellow blotch
tail spine orange

Acanthurus sohal (Forsskall, 1775)

Sohal Surgeonfish, Red Sea Surgeonfish

Body strongly compressed, a distinctly elongate oval; head profile steep, gently rounded; eye high on side of head; mouth small, low on head; teeth on jaws fixed, with flattened, notched tips, 16 on top jaw, 18 on lower; gill rakers 23-26; dorsal fin IX, 30-31 no notch after spines; anal fin III, 28-29; dorsal and anal fins relatively high; pectoral rays 15-17; pelvic fin I, 5; a single, long, slender depressible spine fits into a groove on the side of the base of the tail; tail fin edge lunate, strongly so in adult.

Pale grey; upper head with narrow black stripes; upper 2/3 of body with thin black stripes; dorsal, anal and tail fins black, with blue margin; adult: pectoral white/yellow, with black edges; behind pectoral with an orange blotch; tail spine sheath orange.

Reaches 40 cm.

Outer edge of reef flats.

Depth range: 0-50 m.

North Western Indian Ocean: exotic introduced to Florida.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Reef only
  • Rocks
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Herbivore
  • Data
  • Benthic microalgae
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Exotic (Introduced)
Regional Endemism
  • Exotic (Introduced)
  • All species
  • Vagrant
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 40
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 50