Elongate surgeonfish

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Acanthurus mata
Acanthurus mata.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Acanthuridae
Subfamily: Acanthurinae
Genus: Acanthurus
Species: A. mata
Binomial name
Acanthurus mata
(G. Cuvier, 1829)

Acanthurus mata is a marine tropical fish belonging to the family of the Acanthuridae or surgeonfishes. Its common names are elongate surgeonfish and blue-lined surgeonfish.[2]


It is a medium size fish that can reach a maximum size of 50 centimetres (20 in) length. The body has an oval shape and is compressed laterally. Like other surgeonfishes, Acanthurus mata swims with its pectoral fins. The caudal fin has a crescent shape. The mouth is small and pointed.[3] Its body is streaked with horizontal bluish lines on a brown background color although over time it is able to change colour to become grey-blue overall.A longitudinal yellow stripe runs across the eye and splits in two lines extending anterior the eye. The superior lip is also yellow.[4] The dorsal and anal fin are bluish with a yellow reflection, the base of latters is underlined by a fine black line. The slit of erectile scalpel is darker. Its erectile spine, sharp as surgeon's scalpel, located at the base of the tail is a dread defensive weapon.


This fish has a wide distribution in tropical waters going from the west part of the Indian Ocean to the archipelagos in the middle of Pacific Ocean, so it's widespread all over the Indo-Pacific.[5] It is found from the Red Sea and Gulf of Oman, south to Natal, eastwards to Society and Marquesan Islands, northwards to southern Japan, southwards to New South Wales and New Caledonia. Juveniles occur as far south as Sydney (R. Myers pers. comm. 2010). It is reported from Western Australia (Allen and Swainston 1988), south to Shark Bay. It is not known to occur from the Hawaiian Islands, Pitcairn Islands and Rapa (Randall 2001a).


Acanthurus mata inhabits usually steep slopes around coral reefs in depth range from 5 to 45m.[4]

A. mata with a cleaner wrasse (Komodo, Indonesia)


Elongate surgeonfish is a planktivore with a preference for the zooplankton.[3]


Acanthurus mata has a diurnal activity.It is solitary when resting on the reef but may form small aggregation in the open water during feeding.[4]


  1. ^ Abesamis, R., Clements, K.D., Choat, J.H., McIlwain, J., Myers, R., Nanola, C., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B. & Stockwell, B. 2012. Acanthurus mata. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 26 August 2013.
  2. ^ WoRMS - World Register of Marine Species - Acanthurus mata (Cuvier, 1829)
  3. ^ a b Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2014). "Acanthurus mata" in FishBase. February 2014 version.
  4. ^ a b c Descriptions and articles about the Elongate Surgeonfish (Acanthurus mata) - Encyclopedia of Life
  5. ^ SOUS LES MERS : Acanthurus mata - chirurgien à queue blanche

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