The species can be recognised by its shape and banded pattern.
The Convict Surgeon was considered a widespread species. Some authorities consider the Hawaiian Convict Surgeonfish (video, above) a subspecies (Acanthurus triostegus sandvicensis). Others believe it is a distinct species in its own right, Acanthurus sandvicensis. It differs in having a dark streak at the pectoral fin base rather than a spot, two spots or a short bar and higher numbers of dorsal and anal fin soft rays (Randall, 2002).
It occurs in tropical, inshore waters of the Indo-Pacific.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Feeding and diet
It is a herbivorous species.
According to Randall, "Spawning occurs in aggregations at dusk'.
- Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
- Randall, J.E. 2002. Surgeonfishes of Hawai'i and the World. Mutual Publishing, Honolulu Hawai'i. Pp. 123.
- Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.