Yellowtail Surgeonfish


Name: Yellowtail Surgeonfish

Local name: Garrah Arabi Azraq

Scientific name: Zebrasoma xanthurum

Classification: Class: ray-finned fishes; Order: perch-likes; Family: surgeonfishes (Acanthuridae)

Size: It attains a total length of 22 cm.


The Yellowtail Surgeonfish inhabits coral-rich areas and rocky bottoms, from near the surface to 20 m depth. It may be found as solitary individuals, pairs, small groups or in large schools. A diurnally active herbivore grazer, it feeds mostly on benthic algae. At sunset it ceases feeding and moves to a night shelter, taking cover among coral colonies or in crevices.


The species is restricted to the seas surrounding the Arabian Peninsula, from the northern Red Sea, via southern Arabia to the Arabian Gulf.

Conservation status:

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species classifies the Yellowtail Surgeonfish as Least Concern (LC) in its global assessment, but Vulnerable (VU) in the regional assessment for the Arabian Gulf. It is occasionally caught by traps, and used in the aquarium trade.


The body is orbicular and compressed, and there is a scalpel-like spine on the side of the caudal peduncle. Dorsal and anal fins are elevated, and the caudal fin is slightly rounded. Head and body are bright blue, grading to blackish on the lower half of the body, with numerous small, dark spots on the head, anterior body, and abdomen. The hind margins of the pectoral fins and the entire caudal fin are bright yellow.