Regal Tang
Regal Tang














P. hepatus

Binomial name:

Paracanthurus hepatus

Paracanthurus hepatus is a species of Indo-Pacific surgeonfish. A popular fish inmarine aquaria, it is the only member of the genus Paracanthurus.[1][2] A number of common names are attributed to the species, including regal tang, palette surgeonfish, blue tang (leading to confusion with the Atlantic Acanthurus coeruleus), royal blue tang, hippo tang, flagtail surgeonfish and blue surgeonfish.

Paracanthurus hepatus has a royal blue body, yellow tail, and black 'palette' design. The lower body is yellow in the west-central Indian Ocean.[3] It grows to 30 cm (12 in.).[1] The species' range is broad, but it is nowhere common. It can be found throughout the Indo-Pacific. It is seen in reefs of East Africa, Japan, Samoa, New Caledonia, and the Great Barrier Reef.[1] This fish is rather flat, like a pancake, with a circular body shape, a pointed snout-like nose, and small scales. The blue tang has 9 dorsal spines, 26-28 dorsal soft rays, 3 anal spines, and 24-26 anal soft rays.

The Blue tang would have to be one of the most common and most popular Marine Fish all over the world. They live in pairs, or in a small groups of up to 10 or 12 individuals. These fish reach sexual maturity at 9-12 months of age.

The blue tang is not evaluated by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), but is of low vulnerability.[1]

As a juvenile, its diet consists primarily of plankton. Adults are omnivorous and feed on plankton, but will also graze on algae. Spawning occurs during late afternoon and evening hours. This event is indicated by a change in color from a uniform dark blue to a pale blue.

Males aggressively court female members of the school, leading to a quick upward spawning rush toward the surface of the water during which eggs and sperm are released. The eggs are small, approximately 0.8 mm in diameter. The eggs arePelagic , each containing a single droplet of oil for flotation. The fertilized eggs hatch in twenty-four hours, revealing small, translucent larvae with silvery abdomens and rudimentary caudal spines.

Importance to humansEdit

The blue tang is of minor commercial fisheries importance, however, it is a bait fish. The flesh has a strong odor and is not highly prized. This fish may cause ciguatera poisoning if consumed by humans. However, blue tangs are collected commercially for the aquarium trade. Handling the tang risks the chances of being badly cut by the caudal spine. These spines, on both sides of thecaudal peduncle, are extended from the body when the fish becomes excited. The quick, thrashing sideways motion of the tail can produce deep wounds that result in swelling and discoloration, posing a risk of infection. It is believed that some species ofAcanthurus have venom glands while others do not. The spines are used only as a method of protection against aggressors.[citation needed]

Aquarium lifeEdit

As juveniles, they require a 40 gallon aquarium, but as adults require a 75 gallon tank. They will eat small crustaceans such asmysids and krill. Adults nibble algae and nori. Having more than one in a small aquarium can cause stress, which can lead to injury from fighting. This fish is reef compatible — will not eat corals or anemones.

In popular cultureEdit

A pacific blue tang named Dory is featured in the 2003 Disney/Pixar film, Finding Nemo.



  1. ^ a b c d Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2007). "Paracanthurus hepatus" in FishBase. March 2007 version.
  2. ^ "Paracanthurus hepatus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 21 March 2007.
  3. ^ Debelius, H. 1993./> Indian Ocean Tropical Fish Guide. Aquaprint Verlags GmbH. ISBN 3927991015