Latin name

Acanthurus nigricans

Other names

Velvet surgeon, whitecheek surgeonfish, yellow-banded surgeonfish, yellowrimmed surgeonfish.


The body is elongated oval with a steep dorsal profile and an eye high on the head. It has a small protruding mouth with 8-28 small teeth on the jaws, which have flattened serrated tips. Gill stamens in anterior row: 17-19, in posterior row: 18-20.

Features of fish fins

The dorsal fin is supported by 9 spines and 28 to 31 soft rays, while the anal fin contains 3 spines and 26 to 28 soft rays.

Fish colouring

The general coloration is blue-black or black-brown with a large white spot under the eye. There is a yellow stripe at the base of the dorsal and anal fins that widens as it approaches the caudal fin. The caudal peduncle has a yellow spot around the spine. The caudal fin is white with a thin yellow stripe below the pectoral.


Eastern Indian Ocean: Known only from Cocos, Keeling and Christmas Islands. Pacific Ocean: Ryukyu Islands and Great Barrier Reef, Hawaiian Islands and French Polynesia (except Rapa). This species has crossed the eastern Pacific barrier and reached the Revillagigedo Islands, Cocos Islands, Galapagos Islands and the coast of Mexico.


A benthopelagic fish, adults inhabit the clear waters of lagoons and nearshore reefs from the surface to 67 m (220 ft) on hard substrate. Juveniles hide among large corals.


Maximum published length is 14 inches (36 cm). Maximum published weight: 620.00 g. Maximum published age: 34 years.


Occurs singly or in groups. Monogamous. Territorial species. Widespread throughout Micronesia and hybridized with the rare A. achilles. 

Food and feeding habits

They feed on filamentous algae.


The size of metamorphosis from postlarval to juvenile stage is 5.5-6 cm.


Commercial fishing for aquariumistics.

Relationship with a person

Popular aquarium fish.

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Acanthuriformes
Family Acanthuridae
Genus Acanthurus
Species A. nigricans
Conservation status Least Concern
Habitat Pelagic
Life span, years 34
Maximum body weight, kg 0,62
Maximum length, cm 36
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Not edible
Way of eating Planktonophage

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