Thai National Parks

Marine spacies of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Powderblue surgeonfish

Binomial name: Acanthurus leucosternon, Edward Turner Bennett, 1833

Acanthurus leucosternon is a marine tropical fish belonging to the family Acanthuridae, or surgeonfishes. Its common names are powder blue tang and powderblue surgeonfish.


The fish can reach an average size of 23 cm in length. The body has an oval shape and is compressed laterally. Like other surgeonfishes, Acanthurus leucosternon swims with its pectoral fins. The caudal fin has a crescent shape. The fish has a "surgeon's scalpel, " an erected part of the spine located at the base of the tail. The mouth is small and pointed in a beak-like manner with tiny and sharp teeth for reaching narrow spaces of food. Its sides are blue; its dorsal fin and the base of caudal fin are yellow; the head is black; the mouth, the throat area, the anal and pelvic fins are white. The pectoral fins are transparent with yellow reflections. The intensity of its blue color shows off if the fish is healthy or not.

The fish does not undergo color changes as it matures; as some tangs, surgeonfish and unicornfish do.

Distribution and habitat

Acanthurus leucosternon is found in tropical waters from the Indian Ocean. The species inhabits shallow and clear coastal waters always associated with a reef. It prefers flat top reefs and areas along seaward slopes.


The powder blue tang, like most fish in the family Acanthuridae family, is herbivorous, eating mostly benthic algae. Acanthurus leucosternon has a diurnal activity. It is , territorial and aggressive with other surgeonfish. In cases where food is plentiful, it may feed in shoals, but in cases of scarcity, it may compete individually for food. It may use its surgeon's scalpel as a defensive weapon.

Economic value

The powder blue tang is rarely harvested for anything other than the marine aquarium industry. It is a commonly sold fish that is moderately difficult to care for, although its popularity is easily exceeded by the Blue tang and Yellow Tang. They are very prone to Cryptocaryon irritans. They are reef safe and are compatible with most species except other species of fish in the genus Acanthurus.

This article uses material from Wikipedia released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike Licence 3.0. Eventual photos shown in this page may or may not be from Wikipedia, please see the license details for photos in photo by-lines.

Scientific classification

Acanthurus leucosternon

Common names

  • English:
    • Blue surgeonfish
    • Powder-blue surgeonfish
    • Powder-blue tang
  • French:
    • Chirurgien √† poitrine blanche
    • Chirurgien poudr√©


  • Acanthurus leucosternum, Francis Day (1889)
  • Acanthurus delisiani, Achille Valenciennes (1835)
  • Acanthurus delisianus, Achille Valenciennes (1835)
  • Hepatus leucosternon, Edward Turner Bennett (1833)
  • Rhombotides leucosternon, Edward Turner Bennett (1833)

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Range map of Acanthurus leucosternon in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

Contribute or get help with ID

Please help us improving our species range maps. To add a new location to the range map we need a clear image of the specimen you have encountered. No problem if you do not know the species, we will do our best to identify it for you.

For the location, please provide the district name or the national park/ wildlife sanctuary name.

Please post your images to our Thai Species Identification Help group on Facebook.