ACANTHURIDAE
surgeonfishes

  Zebrasoma xanthurum
(Blyth, 1852)

Relevant synonyms
None

Misidentification
None

Meristic formula
D1, V+24-25; A, III +19-20; P, 15; V, I + 5

 photo: D. Darom    

SHORT DESCRIPTION
Body very deep and compressed, its depth 1.7-1.85 times in SL. Small head with pointed snout. Small mouth with close-set teeth, 20 in the upper jaw and 22 in the lower jaw. Eye in the upper part of the head. A lancet-like horizontal spine on the caudal peduncle which can be folded into a shallow groove. High dorsal fin, the first ray longer than the last spine. Anal fin with round posterior edge. Caudal fin rounded to truncated. Pectoral fin above pelvic fin, both slightly pointed.

color : Dark navy blue to deep purple body with many black dots on the head and anterior body and abdomen. The edges of pectoral fins and caudal fin are bright yellow.

size : 5-20 cm (max 22cm)

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS
The color pattern distinguishes this species from all Mediterranean fish species.

BIOLOGY / ECOLOGY
Live in pairs or small groups. Feeds on benthic algae. Eggs and larvae planktonic.

habitat : Coral and rocky substrate to depth of 50 m.


1st MEDITERRANEAN RECORD
Tavolara Island, Sardinia, Italy 2015 (observation). (Guidetti et al 2015)


DISTRIBUTION
Worldwide : Red Sea to the Arabian Gulf. Mediterranean : Tavolara Island, Sardinia, Italy.

ESTABLISHMENT SUCCESS
Very rare, only a single observation in the Mediterranean



MODE OF INTRODUCTION
Probably aquarium release.


IMPORTANCE TO HUMANS
None, but an important species in aquarium trade.


KEY REFERENCES

  • Guidetti, P., Magnani, L. and Navone, A. 2015. First record of the acanthurid fish Zebrasoma xanthurum (Blyth, 1852) in the Mediterranean Sea, with some consideration on the risk associated with the aquarium trade. Mediterranean Marine Science 17(1), 147-151.
  • Randall, J.E. 2002. Acanthuridae. Surgeonfishes. In: Carpenter, K.E. (ed.) The living resources of Western Central Atlantic. Vol. 3. Part 2.(Opistognathidae to Molidae), sea turtles and marine mammals. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes and The American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Special publication 5. FAO, Rome. 1801-1805 pp.

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Last update of the species sheet:
January 2017

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