In the vast and vibrant underwater world, one species of fish certainly knows how to stand out – the adorable, colorful, and striking Blue Tang. Characterized by its vividly blue body, accented with touches of black and yellow, this marine beauty can brighten up any reef with its lively presence.
The fish with the binomial scientific name Paracanthurus hepatus is known by several common names, including Blue Tang. Other common names include Regal Tang, Palette Surgeonfish, and Blue Hippo Tang.
The Blue Tang fish species is easily recognizable thanks to a certain forgetful fish named Dory, the star of Pixar's Finding Nemo and the beloved sequel Finding Dory.
But did you know that these real-life characters have their own captivating stories to tell? Here are some fun facts about the Blue Tang.
- Algae Eaters: Blue Tangs help maintain the health of coral reefs by eating algae that could otherwise suffocate the corals. With their razor-sharp teeth, they help to keep their environment in balance, proving that even the smallest creatures can make a significant impact!
- Sharp Defense: When threatened or stressed, the Blue Tang can use sharp spines on its tail to ward off predators. The spines are called caudal spines; they are found on the caudal peduncle, another name for the tail fin.
- Changing Colors: They start life as a bright yellow baby fish. As they mature, they develop their deep blue body with black highlights. The tail remains yellow.
- Popular Fishes: Blue Tangs are among the most common and most popular fish found in marine aquariums around the world.
- Long Lifespan: In the wild, Blue Tangs can live up to 30 years. In captivity, they live on average 20 years.
- Wide Distribution: These beautiful creatures can be found in Indo-Pacific waters, in reefs from the Philippines to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, across the East African coast to Sri Lanka.
- The Blue Tang joined our Scubadorable school of fish on December 22, 2006!