The fish can reach an average size of 23 cm (9 in) 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.
Powder blue surgeonfish's Behavior & Ecology
Inhabits shallow, clear coastal and island coral reefs. Usually found on reef flats and along upper seaward slopes. May occur singly or in large feeding aggregations. Monogamous. Caught with nets. The powder blue tang shoaling in the Maldives, Indian Ocean. 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.
Powder blue surgeonfish's Feeding
Feeds on benthic algae; on small, sparsely scattered algae and small growths in crevices.
Powder blue surgeonfish's Reproduction
Paired spawning. Monogamous mating is observed as both obligate and social.
Powder blue surgeonfish's Relationship with Humans
Powder blue surgeonfish shoaling in the Maldives, Indian Ocean 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 fish is harmless to humans.
Powder blue surgeonfish habitat
Acanthurus leucosternon inhabits inshore reefs and is known to occur in large feeding aggregations. It is generally found on reef flats and along upper seaward slopes (Kuiter and Debelius 2001). It is classified as a grazer (Green and Bellwood 2009). The sexes are separate among the acanthurids (Reeson 1983). Acanthurids do not display obvious sexual dimorphism, males assume courtship colours (J.H. Choat pers. comm. 2010).
Powder blue surgeonfish threats
Acanthurus leucosternon is a targeted fish species and is generally rare in parts of its range (J.H. Choat pers. comm. 2010). On the east African coast, differences were observed in densities between fished (average of 0.56 per 500 m2) and protected areas (average of 2.27 per 500 m2) (McClanahan et al. 1999).
Surgeonfishes show varying degrees of habitat preference and utilization of coral reef habitats, with some species spending the majority of their life stages on coral reef while others primarily utilize seagrass beds, mangroves, algal beds, and /or rocky reefs. The majority of surgeonfishes are exclusively found on coral reef habitat, and of these, approximately 80% are experiencing a greater than 30% loss of coral reef area and degradation of coral reef habitat quality across their distributions. However, more research is needed to understand the long-term effects of coral reef habitat loss and degradation on these species' populations. Widespread coral reef loss and declining habitat conditions are particularly worrying for species that recruit into areas with live coral cover, especially as studies have shown that protection of pristine habitats facilitate the persistence of adult populations in species that have spatially separated adult and juvenile habitats (Comeros-Raynal et al. 2012).