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Sea Life, Animals
& Exhibits

hippo-tang Click/Touch photo to view enlargement.

Regal/Hippo Tang

(Paracanthurus hepatus)

The Regal Tang is known by a long list of alternate names, including the Blue Tang, Pacific Blue Tang, Palette Tang, Blue Hippo Tang, Wedgetail Blue Tang, Hepatus Tang, Blue Surgeonfish and the Yellow Tailed Blue Tang. The Regal Tang was popularized by the movie Finding Nemo, in which the character Dory was a Regal Tang. The name “tang” is derived from German and refers to their predisposition toward seaweed. The regal tang is a member of the surgeonfish family. The surgeon name refers to two sharp spines that stick out at the caudal peduncle – the area where the tail joins the rest of the body. These spines are used to wedge themselves into coral.

Habitat

Regal tang’s occur naturally in the western Pacific. They are common throughout the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. The Philippines and Indonesia are common areas to catch these fish.

Diet

Regal tangs have an omnivorous diet, with an emphasis on algae. On the reef, they browse for algae throughout the day. They also eat small invertebrates, such as tiny crustaceans and worms.

Behavior

Males aggressively court female members of the school, spawning occurs 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 are Pelagic, 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.

Predators

Blue tang predators include: tunas, bar jacks, tiger groupers, and other larger carnivorous fishes.