The Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) is a bright yellow peaceful saltwater fish in the Acanthuridae family, native to the Hawaiian Islands. Flavescens means yellow. They are related to the surgeon fish.
They are round and flat, with dark eyes and a protruding nose. At night, the yellow colour fades slightly, and a prominent brownish patch develops in the middle with a horizontal white band. During daylight, the yellow colour returns.
The Yellow Tang can grow to 20 centimetres (8 inches) in length. They are vertically flat, making them very thin, of about 1–2 centimetres (less than an inch) in thickness.
The Yellow Tang feeds on benthic turf algae and other marine plants. It cleans the algae from the shells of turtles. In captivity, in aquariums, they eat aquarium food.
It likes tropical shallow reefs in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, west of Hawaii and east of Japan.
Their life expectancy in the wild is about 30 years.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM