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The body of this fish is a light gray/green color above and a whitish underneath. It is marked with six black, vertical bands. The first band passes through the eye, there are four on the body area, and the sixth is a very short band on the upper side of the caudal peduncle (the base of the tail area).
Hawaiian variety has a bar under the pectoral fin. The distribution of Acanthurus sandvicensis in limited to Hawaiian waters. However, someregard the Hawaiian Manini as a sub-species of Acanthurus triostegus. The A. triostegus species is found in waters from the Gulf of California westward across the entire tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans to the coast of Africa; it does not occur in Hawaii. The difference between the two species is on the A. triostegus the second stripe is a bit longer and the fin ray counts of the soft dorsal and anal fins are somewhat greater.