Fun Striped Surgeonfish Facts For Kids

Ritika Katariya
Feb 29, 2024 By Ritika Katariya
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Striped surgeonfish facts that you will enjoy.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.1 Min

Striped surgeonfish (Acanthurus lineatus) is a species belonging to the colorful and attractive family of Acanthuridae. This fish is known by multiple names such as the blue lined surgeonfish, clown tang, blue-banded surgeonfish, clown surgeonfish, and zebra surgeonfish. It is called a surgeon fish because of its sharp angular scalpel-like tail that is actually sharp enough to give you a cut. They belong to the Acanthuriformes order and are also popular for being shaped like a pancake. This aggressively territorial fish is a good example of all that glitters is not gold. It is so aggressive that it might try to corner or bully members of the own species to get the best resources. This attitude is not just restricted to their own species, but they display the same behavior to fish outside of their species.

Besides enclaving, the adult male is known to demarcate specific feeding habitats, whereas the juvenile is solitary and swims alone until it turns into an adult and joins a pack or makes one. The lined surgeonfish is a fast swimmer that dwells on the shallow strata of the oceans where the reef crests are located. Although found in the Indo-Pacific region, they are well adapted to different living conditions. These qualities make them eligible for fishkeeping in aquariums. However, due to their quarrelsome nature, they cannot be easily accommodated with just any fish. They are shoaling sharks. They belong to the Acanthuriformes order and are popular for being shaped like a pancake!

Find this article interesting? Check out some more fun and informative articles about sucker fish facts and milkfish facts.

Striped Surgeonfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a striped surgeonfish?

The surgeonfish striped is an aquatic animal, belonging to the family Acanthuridae. The Acanthuridae species are the fish that are inclined towards coral reefs.

What class of animal does a striped surgeonfish belong to?

The lined surgeonfish (Acanthurus lineatus) is a ray-finned fish. It is sub-categorized as a species of tang fish.

How many striped surgeonfish are there in the world?

The lined surgeonfish has a very high rate of occurrence and is present in abundance in the ocean. This makes it difficult to give a headcount for the species. However, they occur in around 18 different species, and the Acanthuridae genus alone has more than 80 species.

Where does a striped surgeonfish live?

The blue-banded surgeonfish is located in sites like Western Australia, New South Wales, the oceans of East Africa, the western Pacific Ocean, Japan, Polynesia, and Hawaii.

What is a striped surgeonfish’s habitat?

The blue-lined surgeonfish lives in the tropical and sub-tropical oceans of the world like the Indo-Pacific Ocean, the Pacific region of East Africa, and the northern Great Barrier Reef.

Who do striped surgeonfish live with?

The blue lined surgeonfish is a highly territorial and somewhat solitary species that do not tolerate any intruders in their area, even if they are members of their own species. Nonetheless, they are shoaling fishes who flock and travel in schools during the breeding season.

How long does a striped surgeonfish live?

The blue-banded surgeonfish has a pretty decent life span for an aquarium fish. It lives for around 15-20 years.

How do they reproduce?

Blue-lined surgeonfish breed all year round. However, the peak season is from October to February. The female lays a whopping 40,000 eggs, while the males aggressively protective them. However, they will only protect the eggs until they hatch. The fry is on its own.

What is their conservation status?

The striped surgeonfish Acanthurus lineatus (Linnaeus, 1758) is listed as a species of Least Concern under the ICUN Red List.

Striped Surgeonfish Fun Facts

What do striped surgeonfish look like?

The surgeonfish striped is a vibrant fish and can be easily spotted with their blue and yellow stripes, which is how this fish got its name. The upper part of the body, including the head, is covered with yellow and blue stripes bordered with black, and it is hard to define the base color of the upper body. However, the lower body is a clear and somewhat shiny blue and ranges from light blue to purple. They are sharp ray-finned with scalpel-like tails and caudal fin. It can grow up to 14.9 in (38 cm) in length in general. Although it can grow over that size, a lesser length is expected in the wild. Lastly, it has the classic laterally compressed body type, which is specific to most of the fish in the tang species.

Coral reef is the natural habitat of lined surgeonfish.

How cute are they?

The blue lined surgeonfish is an alluring beauty, but it's not as nice as it looks in reality. Although attractive in appearance, these fishes are not only aggressive but also venomous. They should always be dealt with care.

How do they communicate?

The tang-surgeon fish species have a very unique and rather magical mode of communication. They communicate through changing colors! Their coloration depends upon the environmental conditions, and their tones could indicate their mood. A deeper color could mean increased stress.

How big is a striped surgeonfish?

The blue-banded surgeonfish is one of the moderately sized members of the family Acanthuridae. It is almost three times smaller than the biggest fish in the genus. The biggest fish in the Acanthuridae genus is the whitemargin unicornfish which grows up to 3.3 ft (1 m). An average fish of the genus ranges from 6-15 in (15-40 cm). Thus, the striped surgeonfish, being 14.9 in (38 cm), is not a small fish.

How fast can a striped surgeonfish move?

The lined surgeonfish is a swift swimmer as its sharp fins and tail help it cut through the water smoothly. It can swim at a speed of 25 mph (40.2 kph) which is a pretty decent speed to swim at, and this fish ranks as one of the  faster swimming species.

How much does a striped surgeonfish weigh?

Lined surgeonfish weigh almost 14 times less than the biggest fish of the genus, the whitemargin unicornfish, which weighs around 14 lb (600 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female fish of this species are both known by common names striped surgeonfish, clown surgeonfish, and all the other names given to the species.

What would you call a baby-striped surgeonfish?

Like all other fishes, a baby clown surgeonfish is known as a fry when it freshly hatches out of the eggs. During its developmental stage, it is known as a fingerling as it gradually develops scales.

What do they eat?

The lined surgeonfish is usually a herbivore that feeds on algae, bushes, and seaweed. However, they occasionally munch on tiny invertebrates like crustaceans. Nonetheless, they are tiny fishes and it is not easy to escape the giant predators of the vast and unknown oceans. Larger fishes like the bar jack, tuna, and thegiant grouper are known to predate on the lined surgeonfish.

Are they poisonous?

You might ask yourself, is the striped surgeonfish dangerous? The answer is yes. The caudal spine of the clown tang is highly venomous.

Would they make a good pet?

The lined surgeonfish is an attractive choice for an aquarium at home.

Did you know...

The longest-living lined surgeonfish was recorded to live up to 46 years!

Some other types of surgeonfish are brown surgeonfish, black surgeonfish, and yellowfin surgeonfish.

A school of the clown surgeonfish is known as a harem because it comprises many females led by one male.

The clown tang is reputed for being highly incompatible with the angelfish, and the two should not be kept together in an aquarium.

Are striped surgeonfish poisonous?

Yes, the striped surgeonfish is considered to be poisonous.  

What are other names of striped surgeonfish?

The striped surgeonfish is also called blue-lined surgeonfish, blue-banded surgeonfish, clown surgeonfish, clown tang, and zebra surgeonfish.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these longhorn cowfish facts and pumpkinseed sunfish facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable striped surgeonfish coloring pages.

Striped Surgeonfish Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Crustaceans, algae, and seaweed

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?

1.3 lb (600 g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

tropical oceans (indo pacific ocean and northern great barrier reef)

Where Do They Live?

new south wales and western australia

How Long Were They?

14.9 in (38 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Acanthurus lineatus

What Do They Look Like?

Blue and yellow

Skin Type

Wet, slimy scales

What Are Their Main Threats?


What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Ritika Katariya

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Ritika Katariya picture

Ritika KatariyaBachelor of Arts specializing in English

A dedicated content writer and language enthusiast, Ritika holds a Bachelor's degree in English Language and Literature from Fergusson College. With a keen interest in linguistics and literary adaptations, she has conducted extensive research in these domains. Beyond her academic pursuits, Ritika actively volunteers at her university, providing academic and on-campus assistance to fellow students.

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